Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Online Drama

One of the reasons that I love sewing so much is its a solitary hobby. Sure you can go to groups and guilds and talk about your hobby, but for the most part it is just you, your machine and some beautiful fabric.

I knew when I made the decision to sell some of my wares that I was opening myself up to criticism, comments, stress.

A year ago Jan 09, when I decided to sell my camera strap covers, It wasn't that I wanted to corner the camera strap cover industry. I made one for myself, a friend wanted another, and I thought .. well crap I know alot of photographers and scrapbookers.. I can probably sell these things.

I did a small amount of research in it, and noticed there were 2 or 3 people making them also. I also noticed that people were buying them. I looked at there stock and noticed that our fabric taste was very different, meaning we didn't use the same fabric. So I put my big girl panties on and put a few up for sale. Low and behold they sold. It was pretty awesome. That is how Designs by Jessie got started.

Occasionally I would get email inquires about lens pockets. They saw a pocket on someone elses camera strap cover and would ask me if I could make one also. I had a fabric they loved and they wanted a pocket. Fair enough. So after a few of those, I started to add them into my shop. To my surprise I received an email from another woman who makes camera strap covers also. Basically what it said was , oh your pockets are cute, but they look so familiar!

I hemmed and hawed about answering back to her. I decided to respond with a simple... Thank you very much. I see what you are getting at. We attach our pockets differently, and I was having so many requests that I decided to offer them.

A few months ago, It was decided by the powers that be that I must twitter. To tell you the truth its pretty fun, especially after a few glasses of wine. I have always felt pretty uncomfortable "tweeting" come and buy my crap! But after a few glasses of Merlot I feel I can tweet with complete strangers comfortably!

Shortly after joining twitter I get an other email from this woman via twitter about the description in my store. Apparently it was familiar to hers! I thought to myself .. Seriously how many ways can I say this thing is 21" long? And it fits over your existing camera strap! So I labored for days writing a new description.

So last night, someone that I follow, because I like her designs, came out with a new design. Its for a composition book cover. Yes I sell them also. I'm not bothered by that, she made a beautiful product. I sent her a message via twitter.. @Store owner name here love your notebook covers! They are so easy to make. Love the ruffle accessory! And I did/do. They are unique, I love how she applied her ruffle, they are fun and eye catching. Silly me thinking to offer compliments to other handmade artists.

So this morning I wake up to @designsbyjessie They may be easy to make, but no one makes them better than @Store owner name here! The tweet was made my this woman who sent the previous emails. I thought to my self WOW. I really had to go back and check to see what I wrote. I was 99% sure what I said was supportive and didn't infer anything. So to get something like that back from a completely separate person .. well to be honest .. I was at a loss.. I was/am frustrated, my feelings were a tad bit hurt and I really felt this was a dig at me.

I'm not going to have a poor me moment, I love the things I make, and I make way to much of it. So its either give it away, or sell it. I'm sure there are always going to be snotty people out there, and there isn't anything I can do about it.

So after today's events, I think I'm going to read a few of the blogs that I enjoy and try and finish up this quilt top. I have about 8 flowers on it left to applique and its been sitting in the "to be completed" bin for over a year. So today I'm going to take some solitary time for myself, and remember that I LOVE TO SEW, it makes me HAPPY!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quilt Binding Tutorial

Binding my quilt was something I was really afraid to do. You have just picked up your quilt from the quilters, they quilted this beautiful intricate design. You sweated, and bleed over your quilt top. Now you have to finish it. And you might hesitate a bit, at this final stage you really don't want to muck it up! You can also pay your local quilt shop between $50 - $75 to put the binding on for you. But why bother? That is money that can go for another quilt top!

So I have come up with a little tutorial to get you thru this.

Things you need:
1. Your rotary cutter
2. Your binding fabric (this could be special fabric you bought, or just scrap) I like to use the scrap fabric from my backing.
3. A walking foot
4. quilting pins


cut your fabric into 2 1/2 inch strips. You can cut these on the bias, but I tend to only cut my binding on the bias if I'm binding a scallop edge. But enough strips that It will make it 1 1.4 way around your quilt. Sew the ends together so you get one continuous 2 1/2 inch strip. This strip should go around your quilt 1 1/4 times.

Iron your strips in half long ways. One one end fold over the edge so it gives it a finished look. That end I will refer to as your tail end.

Take your binding strip. With the tail section in your hand Place it on the top of your quilt raw edge of binding facing out. Leave about 4 inches of your tail free and then pin the rest down to the quilts corner.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam to the corner of the quilt stopping a 1/4 inch from the corner

Back stitch to secure it.
Fold your loose binding to the right, creating a L

Fold the binding back over and align raw edge of binding with quilt top again and pin to secure.
Start in the corner, and sew 1/4 inch seam to next corner and repeat for all your corners. Stop sewing once get 6" from where you started

Once you get all around your going to come back to your tail section. Remember that you kept this loose? Measure your binding until it overlaps your tail section.

Encase the binding strips raw edge inside your tail section and finish sewing to your starting point.
Turn the binding over the edge to the back.

Making sure to hide the stitching lines, hand stitch around.

Stitch all the way around. Yes it takes some time, and its a bit awkward in the beginning. You will get your rhythm soon enough. Just put a fabulous movies in, or some great music and you will be finished in no time!
Binding with perfect Mitered corners!


Friday, February 12, 2010

When it Rains...

It really pours in our house.

My husband travels (working outside of the US) , not alot anymore, but still enough to notice. It never fails though, whenever he has a trip, there is a minor/major emergency here. Sick kids, ear infections, once I chopped off the tip of my finger. We lock ourselves out of the house, we lock keys in the car etc. We do this when he leaves. Maybe self consciously we are trying to make him feel like he is important, who knows.

So 6 days into my husbands latest trip disaster strikes again.

I got a call yesterday from J's school. Apparently he collided with a kid during basketball and it knocked him out cold. J's got a hard head, so he must have gotten hit pretty hard. I seriously thought It was no big deal, as they were calling me instead of an ambulance. When I went down to the school basically J couldn't even walk. He was so out of it. Not the ... I forgot to take my ADD drugs this morning out of it, but I sneaked a pint of wild turkey out of it. Immediately alarm bells start going off in my head!

So I drive at break neck speed down the road to get him to the doctors. His Pediatrician is so awesome, she got us right in! Several min wait and we were down for xrays only to discover he had a hairline fracture on his nose. Well crap! But ohhhh no .. it doesn't end there...

She is so concerned, we are now wisked off to the hospital for a head ct! Did I say I was panicked yet? My husband is in freaking Africa, my kindergartner is getting out of school soon, my middle schooler an hour after that. I have no friends here, and the one "family" friend we do have is in England for the week! Crap Crap Crap!!!! Thank goodness my neighbor needed something one day and I saved her number. After securing pickup for the children I was able to take care of business at hand! They run the tests, coordination, questions etc.. He couldn't remember the date, didn't know where he was, really had no sense on what was happening .. Did I already say crap? They run him thru the CT and then we wait. The pediatrician is going on about transferring him to Texas Children's .. and I'm just going crap crap crap. Now normally I would be on the phone with Dr. Debbie (my sister, not really a doctor) but my phone was on 5% power so I was going to have to fly solo for this little medical emergency.

Finally after just a little while, the doctor comes back with a big smile on her face, He has no bleed! She wanted to keep him there for 6 hours to make sure, but it looks like a concussion and a fractured nose. Lets face it, that was enough for us!!!
When it Rains... It really does pour in this house!

Just a reminder!
Don't forget All new items in my SHOP are 15% off till Sunday at midnight!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Discoverd the Library

Well not for the first time! I used to spend alot of time there in High School and College. Once I had a job though, I usually just bought my books. I could get them hot off the pressess so to speak. This really agrivates my husband though. I would spend 7 or 8 dollars on a book and finish it by the end of the day. It then would go and take up space on a shelf, until a garage sale where It would only be resold for maybe .25.

One of the things that I got into when I learned to sew was the audio book. Anytime I can multi task I jump on it. There are a few problems with audio books though.

1. Don't try and think while listening. Cleaning house, driving cars, sewing in straight lines.. perfect audiobook listining times. Surfing internet, cutting fabric, or thinking with more than 3 cells, listening to the books doesn't work to well.

2. Audio books are expensive. You could pay upwards of 24.00 dollars for a book from Itunes. You can get your self a subscription to audible, and then pay 14 dollars a month and get a book.

Or you can rediscover your Library.

Most public library's are online now. They have a great section where you can actually "download" books. Not just 5 or 10 books, but they have thousands, and usually a good amount of new releases. So much money saved from just a little trip to the Library.

One of the other things that the Library does now is you can reserve your books online. I'm not just meaning one book, but most library's will let you reserve up to 20 books at a time. Now seriously, your probably not going to read 20. You can reserve your book, It tells you what your wait is, and they email you when its in.

My Library actually pools from 15 Library's in our area. Just because the book isn't in "my" library, doesn't necessarily mean its not in the county. They will transport my selection to the library of my choice. Pretty cool eh?

So in my glee of "free" books I have been reading quiet a bit. With all the vampire stuff going on, I have been reading more into some super natural kind of books.

Laurell K Hamilton writes a series of books about Vampire bounty hunter Anita Blake. She also has this series about faerie princess Merry Gentry

Meredith NicEssus is a faerie princess turned private investigator in a world where faeries are not only known to the general public, but are also fashionable. She takes on the pseudonym "Meredith Gentry" to hide from her family and her past while hiding out in Los Angeles, California as a private investigator at Grey's Detective Agency. Merry, the only Sidhe (pronounced "shee") royal to be born on American soil, fearing the continuous assassination attempts on her life thinly disguised as duels, flees the Unseelie Court in a final act of self-preservation. Her glamour (the art of magical disguise through illusion) is nearly unrivaled at court, and she is able to pass herself off as a human with fey blood.

Also one of my greatest reading pleasures this year was The Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Yup more vampires!

A little bit about the brothers....

Wrath is the King of the vampires and is the last pureblood vampire in existence. He is almost blind, and is the leader who was not willing to ascend the throne. He falls in love with Beth, the half-breed daughter of his Brother, Darius. His father's name is also Wrath. His story is told in Dark Lover.

Rhage is the strongest and most beautiful of the Brothers. Cursed by The Scribe Virgin, he is possessed with a dark side that is a danger to everyone. His story is told in Lover Eternal He falls in love with a human named Mary and wishes to take her as his Shellan. His father's name is Tohrture.

Zsadist is the scarred, menacing Brother. Taken as an infant from his family, he's forced into blood slavery until his twin, Phury, rescues him. His story with the beautiful aristocratic vampire Bella tells the softening of this tortured warrior's heart in Lover Awakened.

Butch/Dhestroyer is the only human to be allowed within the Brotherhood, and is decended from Wrath. This connection to him allows him to be "turned" and he is initiated in the BDB. He lives at the "Pit", a two bedroom gate-house connected to the mansion where the King and other Brothers reside, with Vishous and he is a friend to all the warriors. An ex-homicide detective, he was lovingly given the nickname "Cop" by the vampires. He is the object of an ancient Lesser Prophecy, and has the ability to sense them wherever they are and can absorb them into himself. His story and his love for the vampire Marissa is told in Lover Revealed.

Vishous is the most intelligent and the one who is specially gifted. His curse is his ability to prognosticate: he sees the future, though not the 'when' of events so he is tortured by his inability to save those he loves from danger. Tattooed on his face, his genitals, - which are scarred since his father tried to castrate him - and his entire hand, he has the ability of psychometry. All of this was inherited from his mother The Scribe Virgin. He falls in love with a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb. His story is told in Lover Unbound.

Phury is Zsadist's twin brother and a celibate who cannot truly live because of everything his biological brother has lost. Phury is incredibly loyal to his brother, even shooting off his own leg to save his twin. His noble nature went so far as to help release Vishous from being "Primale" to the Chosen. He eventually falls in love with the Chosen, Cormia, his first mate. His story is told in Lover Enshrined.

Rehvenge is brother-in-law to Zsadist, half symphath, and owner of a local club called ZeroSum. He is also a member of the vampire aristocracy and the "Princeps Leahdyre" of its council. He hides the fact that he is half "symphath" even from his own sister, Bella. His story is told in Lover Avenged.

Right now I'm reading ..

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

And of course I have some Nora on the Ipod (downloaded from the library of course). This series of books I read 10-12 years ago. Its great to go back and listen to it again.

My sister is a big reader also, and will spend ours on the phone discussing our latest reads. I guess we are our very own book club! Its not heavy reading, It doesn't necessarily make you go hmmmmmm. It is what it is, a fascinating form of entertainment to indulge in.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Its already February

I'm not exactly sure where January went to. Is it possible to loose a month? At the end of the year I had so many plans, and they have pretty much gone to the wayside with real life getting in the way. So here I am in February trying to play catch up and struggling. Its almost like starting over again. Yikes! Promotion Promotion Promotion! So where to start.

One of the places I know I can start is updating this darned blog. Its a very valuable tool, but there is a trick to it. You have to post to it, and you have to tell people that you have posted to it! Its seriously not rocket science, but sometimes it is a mental struggle.

There are so many things I want to offer on my blog this year. New tutorials, new items, business "non" strategy. How not to do what Jessie does. Seriously, i can probably save you loads of time by just telling you what has backfired for me. One of the places I know I can start is with my shop. I did a complete inventory clean out, and decided to change my way of listing products. Where most items were created on demand, I have now gone to a complete ready made system. Yes I still do custom orders, but going ready made makes it easier to keep up with orders. So instead of the customer waiting on me to get it made, now whatever is in my shop can be shipped within 2 days. Most customers don't care if my dog gets sick, or my kids need some mommy time, they really just want their items. So by going ready made, Its already created, and the postman can pick it up!

I have also initiated a small shipping charge. I used to do free shipping and hoped that my orders got to where they were supposed to go. That kind of backfired. Sometimes orders don't get to where they need to go, and then there are a few people out there that will say they never received their item. It is the way of the world. By having a small shipping fee I am able to do delivery confirmation. It is protection for the buyer and for myself. Lets face it, Paypal really doesn't care how many times I say I shipped it. They want a numeric code as proof, and proof is what paypal will have!
I have also added some new Items to my shop. I have ventured out from my simple camera straps. I know offer a range of items. There are Composition book covers, Thread Catchers, CD Visors, etc. I want to eventually add some baby items, and some kitchen wares.
I am now offering a new product sale. I have decided to load new products into the store on Friday, and offer them at a 15% discount for the weekend.
I'm really excited about these new changes, and cant wait to get this rolling along again. Its going to be a bit uphill for a while, I know that the next month will be insane trying to drive in business. You only get out of this what you put into it. isn't that what they say? And lets be honest, I have the sewing part down already, Its the part where I have to tell people about it that is going to be the uphill battle!

Something to remember. people cant use ESP to realize that they cant live without one of my handmade, one of a kind items!