Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishing You a Very Happy New Year!

May 2009 find you happy and healthy! (and crafting!)


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Shirt for my Supergirl!

John and Leith went to the park this morning (yes, it is December in Nebraska - but the weather's been decent the last few days!) and I got to do some sewing room stuff. I traced a pattern from Ottobre (1/2006, #17), and this afternoon during tyke's naptime, I managed to get it sewn up!

I think it's super cute (ha ha). The hem and sleeve ends need to be rolled, but I have to get some black serger thread. How do I not have black serger thread?!

Supergirl raglan shirt - size 98


supergirl raglan shirt - detail

Yay! It's sewn entirely on the sewing machine because of the lack of the aforementioned black serger thread. (Seriously, it's a *basic color* for gosh sakes!)

She should be waking up in a few minutes...hopefully she likes it, too.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Changing Direction

This whole CPSIA thing has gotten me thinking. There are lots of alternatives. I can continue to create things for my family, as gifts for friends, even to sell locally. To be honest, none of my stuff is selling on Etsy anyway.

I'm thinking that I'll take down the kids' stuff and start offering aprons on Etsy. I have loads of fun, funky, cute, interesting fabrics, and I enjoyed making the aprons for Leith's teachers.

There are plenty of kids' clothing patterns I want to try, and will enjoy making more of my favorite patterns. I've been giving a lot of thought to doing home-based girls' clothes parties. Like tupperware, but kids' wear.

I'm still going to work toward getting the CPSC to grant exceptions. I'll still be creating things that I love and make me happy. Maybe it's not changing direction so much as taking a scenic detour.


Sunday, December 28, 2008


I was lucky enough to be interviewed by the Lincoln Journal Star and Channel 8 News about how the CPSIA might affect small businesses/independent artisans who offer products geared toward children under the age of 12.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, itself, is 62 pages of legalese. It is mainly aimed at children's toys and child care articles. It may also be broadly interpreted to mean anything for use by a child under age 12. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with interpretation of the law, but they have not yet given official opinions and interpretations. Manufacturers will be required to provide certificates of conformity. Those certificates must state that the item has been tested for lead phthalates and falls within statutory guidelines (less than 600 ppm of lead, less than 0.1% of benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), di-butyl phthalate (DBP) or di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)).

The CPSC will require third-party testing for lead and phthalates. Each type of item made will have to be tested. If a small manufacturer makes unique items, each and every item would need to be tested. It is the cost of the testing that will put many small manufacturers out of business.

There are literally hundreds of blogs and forums addressing the CPSIA issue. Because the CPSC has not issued its full interpretation, there is a lot of fear and worry about what will and will not be exempted. Many independent artists and manufacturers are very concerned that their products may be banned by the law.

This law will affect small manufacturers/artists/creators who do business on line and in other states. That means people with their own websites and etsy sellers who hand make plush toys and other items would not be able to sell their items without the testing and certificates.

Here are the Etsy shops of some of the LincolnHandmade Team members who will be affected by the CPSIA law:





This Happy Panda blog entry gives an excellent description of lead and phthalates testing, as well as some of the possible costs. Ouch!

One more thing: Kaitlyn (owlpeople) talked to Fortenberry's office and they called over to the CPSA and verified that this will NOT affect us at the local level. We will still be able to do Farmers Market, Art Shows, etc. but it still doesn't get away from the fact that we can't sell on the national level without the certifications. It's also possible that prices will rise *because* we can't sell nationally.

Please contact the CPSC to show your support for independent artisans!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!

My 91 year old grandmother got a Christmas wish yesterday....she was released from the hospital! She'd been admitted to BryanLGH East on Saturday, problems with her dialysis port. Surgery was Monday afternoon, and she was released Wednesday. Yay! We'll be driving to Aurora to see her today and give her a present or two.

Leith's opened one of her presents this morning: a shiny tricycle! She and Sarah have checked out their stockings already, too. Jess, Corey and Tyson are heading over in a few minutes so we'll have lots of present openings then it's time for breakfast! John's made some porridge and he'll be making pancakes and eggs. mmmmmmmm I can hardly wait!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!


Monday, December 22, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Finally a post about the crafts Leith and I worked on last week.

We painted some ornaments and drizzled almond bark on some pretzels. The pretzels were supposed to be treats for kids and part of the teacher gifts, but since school was closed on Friday.....



The boxes for teachers and assistants are a la Christy. Thanks to her tip, I picked up some cute boxes (and treat bags) at Hobby Lobby!

The ornaments are plain craft glass balls. We poured a bit of paint into each one and sort of swirled it around. Mainly just shook them a bit until the paint covered the inside. A little red paint, a little white and some iridescent medium.


We also did a few Christmas tree ornaments, same method. Unfortunately one of them broke...of course it was my favorite one! Oh well.


Each of the ornaments is tied with a little bit of "Merry Christmas" ribbon.

This evening was the icing on the cake. Literally. It was time for making royal icing and putting it on the Christmas cake! Leith had fun helping daddy make the icing:



Happy Crafting!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Grosgrain Blog Giveaway

I have just discovered a fantastic, inspiring, fun blog: Grosgrain. Oh. My. Beautiful little dresses. Tutorials. Many, many giveaways!! Right now she's got a Sugar Cookie Frock GIVEAWAY!!!! happening. Check out that adorable dress! Plus that funky little doll is included! Keeping my fingers crossed for this one.


Snow Day!

Well, Ice Day is more descriptive....there's a thick, icky sheet of ice over everything outside. John couldn't even open the truck door! He did manage to get the car cleared, after half an hour, but he's decided to work from home anyway.

School's cancelled. Leith's watching PBS. John's working in the library. I'm debating whether or not to eat the drizzled pretzel sticks we made for classmate treats....guess which way I'm leaning? lol

I did finish the assistant teacher's apron yesterday! Unfortunately she won't get it until next year, as school's out for the year. Maybe this will teach me to give early next time.

apron for assistant teacher

Used some pretty Amy Butler "charmed" fabric and a green with hot pink polka dots for this one.

I've been having fun with aprons lately. There are a few more on my to-do list for gifts this year. Better get moving!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The road to hell and all that....

You know, it's paved with good intentions...

Yeah. So that whole "this is what I'll accomplish" post? hmmm, days have passed and nope. nada. nothing. Okay, in my defense I was sick on Sunday and Monday. Wait. Make that SICK. blegh. Finally feeling better but somehow it's now Wednesday evening and I haven't really accomplished anything.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have managed to make one teacher gift. A reversible apron. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Tried something different: no pockets. I did put a loop on each side though, to hold a dish cloth.

Side A:

Teacher Appreciation Apron - side 2

Side B:


The ties, straps and trim all around are Michael Miller bias tape, apple color. The color's not what I'd thought when I ordered it, but it goes perfectly with these fabrics!

Now to make another, similar, for the assistant teacher.....that's tomorrow's project!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thirteen is my lucky number....

so why not use December 13 for my 50th post!

I'm still trying to get the hang of blogging. Been thinking that my goal from here on out (not New Year's Resolution) is to blog *something* every. single. day. Thirty days to make a habit, three days to break it, right?

My more immediate goals for the weekend are to finish up a couple of projects:

*I've signed up for a "House" swap - gotta love Gregory! (Who knew I'd like a cynical, sarcastic, intelligent guy?!) - so there are Shrinky Dinks to make and a bleach stencil to work on.

*Aprons! One for Leith's teacher and one for the assistant teacher, I'd like to get them done by Monday or Tuesday...then I'd like to make one for Leith and one for Tyson. Oh, and one for John, but don't tell him. (Hi Honey!) You know, if I'm doing that many anyway, I might as well make some fun aprons for Jess, Corey Sarah and my parents....

Those are the weekend projects, I have more, but want to keep the list do-able. I will post progress and completed project pictures tomorrow. There, now I *have* to work on these today!

Now you, get crafting too!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is it cheating....

if yesterday's post was about the craft show and today's post has pictures from said craft show? I think not!





Last night some of the LincolnHandmadeTeam members had a little holiday get together at my place. Did I take pictures? No. Of course not. Why would I need pictures? duh.

At least Lisa and Christy were thinking and got some photos. Maybe tomorrow I can cheat and link to their posts with pictures....


Christy came over this morning for a sew-along. I hope she had at least as much fun as I had! She worked on a super secret project and I worked on a quick tunic for Leith.

Makes me think I should get moving on my idea to have a sew-along day once a month with crafty friends. Just need a place to gather, some drinks and treats, and some invites. I'm thinking a Saturday mid-day/afternoon once a month or so. Would you go to something like that? Get some motivation and inspiration, have a few laughs, just *be* with other creative folks.

Now I just need to bind the neck, do something with the sleeves and hem, then the tunic's done. Think I can finish it tonight so she can wear it to Cookies & Crafts Day at Montessori? We'll see. We'll see.


Monday, December 8, 2008


This past weekend was the "Seasons of Craft" show/fair. Several of the LincolnHandmadeTeam members got together and rented a booth. Four of us shared the space on Saturday (Christy, Lisa, Lynette and moi), then it was just me on Sunday. Can you say "colossal waste of time"? Not really, Saturday was actually kind of fun. Who would't want to hang out with crafty ladies?! Lots of laughs, very few buyers. Sunday was fewer laughs, what with being by myself most of the day, and even fewer sales.

Lisa showed up on Sunday afternoon and relieved my boredom by putting on a fashion show (camera batteries were drained, or I'd have taken a few pictures). She also helped me tear down at 3:45.

It's a good thing I don't base my self worth on how many sales I have (or don't have, in this case). There was a lot of positive feedback ("nice work" "that's so creative" "ohhhh pretty"), which is good.

Now it's time to charge up those batteries, get over the bummed outness of the weekend, and get some of those items posted on my etsy shop. You know etsy, where they actually appreciate good quality, handmade, stylish items....


Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Sewn Goodness....

What started out as a frustrating week has turned into a relatively productive week....

Dubenko, my serger (what? you don't name your tools? ha!), was having fits. I'm sure it was all his fault. Couldn't have been my fault, right? Maybe he just needed a few days' rest. I'd been working him pretty hard....

Anyway, no amount of re-threading was solving the issue, so I simply walked away. Five days before a craft show, needing to make a few hats, sure, why not just ignore the problem. Tried again Tuesday morning and no go again. By this time I'd spent so much time trying to figure out the problem I couldn't even remember what a properly threaded serger was supposed to look like. So I went to the sewing machine shop and looked at a cooperative machine.

I didn't take Dubenko with me, just went in to see where the threads should go and remind myself how it should look. The shop owner suggested that I start chaining on a piece of fabric, instead of the hold/pull method I'd been using. So when I got back home I sat down, re-threaded Dubenko(again) and started on a piece of fabric. Guess what. Sometimes those repair dudes know what they're talking about. Yay! Dubenko and I are now on speaking terms again.

The productive part of the week? Well, I finished an adult size elf-ish hat. Since I know it fits grown ups, I'll be making more of those for the craft show this weekend. Then I made a(nother) Christmas dress for Leith.



This is my version of a curved bodice Olivia-type dress with dual sleeves. I think the bodice is too long, but in general I like how it turned out!

Then, since Dubenko and I were on a roll, I made a Curious George t-shirt for Leith. She *loves* that little monkey. I had just enough CG fabric to make front/back tunic length panels, and had the pretty yellow rib knit for the sleeves and neckline. When I showed this to John, he almost didn't believe that I'd made the whole thing, he asked where the neckline piece had come from! I took it as the compliment he meant.


and another, just 'cuz she's cute!


To top it all off, I did do some craft show work! Made these three reversible aprons.


I'm still tweaking the pattern (again, my own cobbled from bits here and there), but it's relativey fast and easy, so you can look forward to more, soon.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Something you don't see every day....

Heck, won't even be possible to see again until 2052!!

These were taken on December 1, 2008, looking to the Southwest, outside our West-facing attic window. Approximately 6:00p.m. CST. There were some leafless trees 'in the way' but the pictures are still pretty clear. This was much more impressive in person! We went for a drive and got to see some really clear views. Very clear skies, cool but not freezing temperatures. Oh, and later, when the moon was closer to the horizon, it was orangy! Beautiful, beautiful sights.


Without tripod:


With tripod:


Sony DSC-H2 camera.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Patterns and Fabrics and Sales. Oh My!

This blog post is being interrupted for an important bulletin: IT'S SNOWING!! I *love* the first snow of the year. It's beautiful. Pristine. Enveloping. Quiet. Full of potential (snowmen! igloos! sledding!).

These are big, thick flakes. There may not be many of them, and they may not stick around. But they're there!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.


Some of my favorite online shops are having some great sales! I just placed an order at banberry place. She carries great patterns, has got some yummmmmmy fabrics and is having a 'black weekend' sale. ohhhhh boy. It would be so easy to get carried away. But I controlled myself. For now. I'll check back there later today if I can't live without the gorgeous corduroy fabrics...

I finally ordered the Antonia pattern I've been lusting after for.ever. Yay! I'm steadily increasing my hoard of knits, and this is a great pattern for using just a little bit of several prints. You can be sure Leith will be sporting several funky shirts before the end of the year.

Also, I re-ordered the Olivia pattern. I had this one early on in my sewing journey, and for some reason was afraid of it, so I sold it. Now that I'm much more confident with knits, and with my sewing in general, I *want* it! So, today was the day. I really love the versatility of the underdress, and I think I'll like how it looks with the Anna wrap dress.

Oh, she also has a blog, StuntSewing, with shop updates, helpful pattern tips, and inspiring pictures!


Yesterday I was all about productivity. Okay, not really, but I did complete several things. Here are a couple of quick pictures for proof:

A Holiday/Celebration Anna

Here's a peek at the fabrics:




A cute reversible apron:



Plus, I finished up a size 5 Holiday/Anytime skirt!



Also, I finished an elf-ish hat and have cut out and started a different skirt....just need to get back in the sewing room and figure out how to ruffle some fabric!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Day in the Park

Yesterday was one of those beautiful November days we don't often get in Nebraska. Well, except this year...we've had several, actually!

It was so nice that Leith and I went to the park for a little play time after Montessori. I even managed to remember the camera! For the first half hour or so no one else was there! Then a little boy and his grandpa arrived, so Leith was following them around and asking "that guy" a bunch of questions. Luckily they were very accommodating, since the boy was only a little older than Leith.

Anyway, on to the pictures. Here's L climbing the stairs to the highest slide:


Isn't that sky gorgeous?! Brilliant blue, not a cloud in it.

Here's one of Leith's favorite spots in the playground...a 'fish bowl' viewing area, just the right size for a toddler.


She looks so grown up here.


Here she is, patiently waiting for me to tell her she can eat the chocolate turkey. When I said 'yes' guess what she did? Yep, "gobble gobble" LOL (I crack me up sometimes.)


Want more info on the chocolate turkey? It's made with chocolate chips (head), malted milk balls (body), chocolate stars (feet and tail feathers), and a tiny bit of red gel (wattle). There's also a little bit of coconut dyed green for 'grass.'


Last Saturday's Craft Show

There was a local artisan's bazaar at the Yoga Body & Balance studio last Saturday. It was in part to benefit the Friendship home. They had food, drinks, conversation and, of course, hand crafted art "by some of Lincoln's finest established and budding artisans." Who would have guessed I'm a budding artisan? lol So many creative and talented vendors were there.

According to the YB&B folks, there were vendors with "crocheted wearables; semi-precious stone jewelry; hand embroidered pillows; paintings; ACEO cards; poetry books crafted by author; handmade journals; hat boxes; a novel; musical recordings; baby clothes; chakra readings; plus a variety of gift baskets from several vendors and more."

Here are a couple of quick pictures of my booth (click for full picture):


Maybe you recognize a few things from my etsy shop? A few things not yet in the shop, too.


We were kind of crammed together, and there was an artist against the corner to the left of my booth, so I didn't raise the clothes rack, which makes it look even more crammed together.

I had a good time. Got to be in the LincolnHandmade section, next to Christy and Lisa. They had a few sales, but all in all it was a pretty small show. We decided it was great practice for the Seasons of Craft show on December 6 and 7.


Monday, November 24, 2008


Is a person better off discounting/pricing low just to sell items....or pricing them at costs+time and risking that items won't sell....

My question isn't meant to be "about me" -- I don't base my self-worth on selling/not selling something. It's also not meant to be a price-setting discussion, not exactly, anyway. It's more like: what's your opinion? lower prices to get sales or keep prices and wait?

If items are seen as priced too high, people won't buy them because they want a bargain; but if prices are too low, people think the items are not worth much and won't buy them. Or is it just that people aren't buying right now? Are my items not "good enough" (I believe they are!)?

Mostly I make things because I want to be creative. But I have some items online and did a small craft show over the weekend. So far, nothing's sold. I'm worried now that the prices are too high. I'm also worried that dropping prices will make the items seem less worthy somehow. There's another show in two weeks and I'm considering price changes and stocking different things, but not sure what. Do I make more of the "cute" things that haven't sold? Try something different? gah.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday/Anytime Skirt v1.0

Well, I managed to finish it today! Actually, I finished several things today: cleaned off the patio, stored the furniture, tossed the tossables and saved the saveables, all that *and* this adorable skirt!

Christmas side:


(yes, it is blurry. a blurry picture of a stationary object.)

Anytime side:


I am ridiculously proud of how this turned out. My own pattern! Okay, not pattern so much as instructions. Tomorrow is a school day, so hopefully I'll get a couple more done. Some will have the bias tape like this, some will have rolled hems, some will be regular hemmed. Maybe.

Adding this to craftyconservative's "I made it myself" Monday theme!


Slow and Steady.....

More slow than steady, unfortunately! lol

Here is the beginning of my new obsession: reversible skirts! I've had the idea for a while to make them with one fabric being a Christmas print, the other an any occasion print.

There will be many, many more of these skirts in my future. I'm really happy with my pattern (made it myself!) and there are lots of options for finishing the hem, so each one will be an original!

I love the Misfit Toys!

Side One

I also love Ikea Hippos!

Side Two

What do you think? Want a reversible twirly skirt for your tyke? Send me a note! I'll also have some stocked in my Etsy shop in just a week or so.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Etsy Virtual Trunk Show - recap

Whooooo boy that was fun!! Etsy hosted a 24-hour virtual trunk show, and my local Etsy team, Lincoln Handmade, was featured in one of the rooms!

It was like a virtual craft show. Vendors got to chat about a few items, and 'buyers' got to meet shop owners. Sometimes it was a little confusing, and sometimes there were buyers who didn't know what they'd stumbled in to, so there were some repetitive questions, but all in all it was great! Lots of support from team members really helped.

There were actually several Etsy teams in different rooms in the virtual labs area of Etsy. Each team had one or two hours to split up amongst team members. Each member had a few minutes to post a thumbnail of their items (which linked to their shops), and chat a bit about the item. Members could make special offers (free shipping, free gift w/ purchase) or play a quick game (find the _____ in my shop and receive it free), those sorts of things.

I think this is a relatively new scheme through Etsy, and I'm hoping they'll do it more often. We had pretty good turnout, I got a couple of new hearts, and I saw some really wonderful and creative items made by team members. The best part was, I won a pair of earrings from LynetteFast! She had a giveaway during her portion of the show, and I was the lucky winner!

Being the lazy bum, erm, procrastinator that I am, I spent most of the two days before the show in mad preparation rather than marketing. *sigh* Well, at least I've got a little bit of stock in my shop now. And more to add. Just have to get my "pro" status from flickr!


p.s.: Check out those Etsy labs. They have tons of information, suggestions and inspiration!

Monday, November 10, 2008

a few things for my etsy shop

Just a few quick pictures of some new things for Leith and for my etsy shop....why does it always take longer to do the photos and list it than it does to make the things?! LOL

First up, an adorable little toddler tote bag. I'm not a fan of the 1930s repro fabrics, but this color/fabric combo really appeals to me.


Next, one of my all-time favorite patterns, Farbenmix Anna. I totally <3 this pattern. It's going to take three pictures to show off this beauty. Pretty pink toile and funky pink dots! First, this shows the back when the dots are at the front:


The front of the dress with each fabric:



Last, but certainly not least, a Yee Haw Christmas dress. This is using the Farbenmix Vida pattern and some really fun cowboy themed holiday fabric. After looking at the pictures, I realized the elastic hasn't been put in yet! I got so excited about getting pictures because it's so cute, that I forgot to do the last step!


And a close up of the fabrics:


I used some great vintage buttons from my grandmother's stash, so I think this one will stay in the just happens to be Leith's size!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Upcoming Events

Gotta get the sewing machine sewing, the serger serging and the iron ironing. It's going to be a busy few weeks at the refibered household!

First up, Lincoln Handmade will be part of Etsy's Around the World virtual trunk show on November 13! Etsy's doing 24 hours of trunk shows, and LNKhandmadeTeam gets an hour to show off members' items! Christy (our "Prez") is doing so much leg work to make this happen. We'll have a dry run on Monday, then Thursday is the real deal! Make sure you check it out on Thursday evening from 7-8pm CST!

Saturday, November 22 there is a local artisan's bazaar at Body & Balance 2300 South 48th Street here in Lincoln. Check out their newsletter. This one's still tentative for me, haven't heard back yet, but I do plan to attend and help support my fellow crafters and Friendship Home!

LNKhandmadeTeam is also spreading the Etsy love at the Seasons of Crafts show on December 6 and 7. Four team members will be showing on Saturday, and two on Sunday. Head out to the Lancaster County Event Center and check out all the fabulous crafts and foods.

Oh yeah, and in there some time we have to fit in a little thing called Thanksgiving! and Christmas decorating! I'm planning to do a lot of handmade shopping at these events! Guess what you're getting for the holidays! lol


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Watching History Being Made

Yesterday was Election Day 2008. It's been a very long national campaign but the voting is done and most of the ballots have been counted. Either way history was being made with yesterday's election.

I've had a strange sense of surrealism with all the goings on -- all the campaigning, all the discussion, distortion and distaste...then to watch the televised concession and acceptance speeches...well, it's hard to believe that I get to be a witness to it, let alone the fact that I'm a part of it!

I'm excited for future, a little anxious and cautious, but generally excited. Wow. Just. Wow.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!

I'm not ashamed to admit that I didn't make a costume for Leith this year. No gumption, mostly, but also she's still just a little too young. She doesn't understand Halloween (neither do I!), and dressing up is an every day event for her. We went to Target on Sunday and got her a Thomas the Tank Engine costume.

Then on Wednesday, I got the current issue of Ottobre magazine. They have the best clothes for kids! The patterns are not too difficult, some more intensive than others, but this issue has a hooded cape that is Oh. My. Gawd. cute. Make that Cute - with a capital C. So, that night, I traced the pattern and made it from red fleece. Can you say *adorable*?! Was so excited about it that I took Leith to the fabric store on Thursday and had her pick out more fleece - she chose 'tiger' so she could say "rawr" lol - and whipped up another one before going to "Boo at the Zoo" that night. It literally took 20 minutes from start to finish! I am totally in love with this pattern.


Not a great shot, unfortunately. I also made the skirt! She wore it all day and got tons of compliments!

This one shows the pointy hood.


Isn't that adorable!?!

"Please, no more pictures!"

Hope your bag gets filled with lots of snickers and very few sweetarts!