Thursday, November 24, 2011

Introducing: Shoes by Summery Creations, and Other Awesome Stuff

Hello folks!

I have a couple of awesome things to share- First of all, this has been a stellar month of sales for me, even before the craziness of after Thanksgiving shopping.  Some of my purses and companion cubes are now making their way across the pond to the UK and to various places all over these great United States.  Its a small jump up, but great none the less.

Secondly, given the pick up in sales, I decided my little business could use an upgrade in the sewing department.  I spent a couple of days researching new sewing machines and deciding between getting something that could embroider, or get a nicer brand computerized machine.  I ended up going with the nicer brand, and bought a new Janome DC2011.  Pretty much anything is a step up from my Singer Simple, with its 18 different stitches, but this baby is really nice, comparatively.  I haven't gotten to play around with it a whole lot, but what I have done has been fantastic.

And lastly- I am going to start selling custom ballet flats in my store!  They can be made to match almost any one of my purses (there may be an exception or two, just ask!) and in three different styles: plain, with a mary jane type strap or with a wider strap.  I've also included other choices in the listing itself.  The basic ballet flats make great shoes for around the house or office, as well as light outdoor wear!  I've been wearing mine a lot since I finished them.  Yesterday I even wore them around the mall, and got a couple of compliments from total strangers.  It was amazing to see their faces when I told them that I had made them.

Besides the ballet style flats, I'm also going to offer the option of having a cork sole add on, for a more hard wearing outside shoe.  The cork has been purchased, as well as the cement for soling shoes, so its just a little waiting until it arrives.  I can also make comfy house slippers with snuggly fleece lining!

It won't be available to purchase until next week, but I also have another pattern with a keyhole type closure, I just haven't gotten to test it out yet.
Newest set of shoes- These have canvas soles and are ready for the cork sole add on!

If you're interested, you can see the shoe listing here!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Big Sale Weekend!

Hello folks!

I know this coming week is a big one for holiday shopping and I just wanted to have a little post here on my blog about the deals I’ll be offering.  On Black Friday itself, I will be offering free shipping on everything in my shop!  For Saturday –Monday, the deal will switch over to a 20% off coupon, and select items will go on sale (and you can still use the 20% off!).  The sale items will change from day to day, so keep your eyes peeled if there’s something specific you’re looking for.  Just remember that many of my bags are one of a kind, so if you miss out, I may not be making that one again (Although I am open to custom requests).  If you want in on the deals, make sure to like my store on facebook (here) or follow me on twitter (here) to get the coupon codes.

Milly's getting ready for the big sale!  She's hanging on to all of her favorites.
As a side note to anyone who is thinking of buying- I will be away from my studio due to the holiday, so any purchases made between Wednesday (the 23rd) and Sunday (the 26th) will be mailed on Monday (the 27th).   If you are looking to get a companion cube, those will take time to make, since I do not keep a stock of them made up (just the materials).  Order early if you need it time for Christmas because I will only have a limited number of them available during the deals, due to the work time they require.

Another note… more of hint really… I will be starting to sell custom made shoes and slippers in my store as well!  I've been working hard on getting them ready to release.  They should be made available by black Friday,  so if you want a pair of flats to match your new Summery Creations bag, please keep me in mind!  There will be more about the shoes in a later post, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lingering Projects

Do you guys ever start a project that you are really excited about, only to encounter a snag, and then stop working on it?  Or maybe its not even a snag in the project, maybe you just had to stop for a while, and never got back to it?

Maybe I'm just easily distracted, but I do this all of the time.  In fact, I'm doing it right now.  I started a purse as a gift 2 weeks ago.  Everything is cut out for it, the outside of the bag is constructed, and it looks pretty good.  I designed it especially for the giftee.  The designing and constructing only took me about 2 hours.  Then I got distracted, and I haven't finished it yet. This is a consistant thing for me.  In fact, I was cleaning up my sewing area and found 2-3 more unfinished projects, waiting in the wings.
Half Finished Bag

Every once in a while I have to 'encourage' myself to finish these projects.  Today was one of those days.  I had an almost finished tote bag sitting on a shelf.  In fact, it was only a couple stitches away from being done.  This tote was one of those projects that I started and hit a snag on.  I was attaching the inside of the bag when things just weren't lining up right, so I took a break from it... a 3 week break.  I finally made myself go back to that tote this morning before I let myself make another pair of shoes (which I really want to do).  I fixed the problem and had the tote finished in about 30 minutes.  It was a very quick finish, and the final product is fantastic!  I can't believe how long I put it off, and it has encouraged me to get back to work on other lingering projects, right after I make those new shoes!

Fairy Tales Tote Bag-  Now for sale in my Etsy Shop!
So, when you hit a snag or have unfinished projects piling up, what do you do to kickstart them again?

Monday, November 14, 2011

My New Shoeventure!

Hello folks!

As much as I love making bags, and I do, I also like to branch out.  I can never stick to just one thing for very long.  I get bored and I have to do something to break the monotony, or get out of a creative rut.

I also have funny sized/shaped feet.  About a year ago, I found some really cute black strappy flats at JC Penney, and I got them on sale.  They fit great, which is hard to find.  Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago... My cute shoes are now more of a smelly foot covering than a shoe.  I've worn them consistently since I bought them.  I started looking for good replacement shoes, and lets just say that I've had less than stellar options.  The biggest issue is that I want flats for work, since I have arthritis in one of my big toes due an accident a couple of years ago.  Cute adult sized flats are hard to find, especially ones that fit my short, wide tooties.  The one pair I found at Payless that I thought might be worthy turned out to be a bust, size wise.  This shoe problem has been weighing on my mind for a while.

Fast-forward again to about 4 days ago.  I was surfing Etsy and thinking about Christmas presents.  I couldn't do purses/bags again for most my list since that's what they got last year (I know, I know, you can never have too many purses, but I don't want to become that person who always gets you the same thing every year; I like variety!).  I wanted to something different.  Since I like to multitask and think about lots of stuff at once, the niggly shoe problem was also floating around my mind.  So, I decided to see what was around in terms of shoes on Etsy.  That lead me to some patterns for making your own cloth slippers/shoes.  I did some research on the patterns and soling material and settled on a set of patterns that I just adored.  Simple, functional, and of course I can make them with whatever fabric I want.  I purchased a couple of patterns from Shoeology as well as some soling material.

The patterns arrived in my inbox with in a couple of hours and I got to work on a test slipper.   These ugly brutes were the result.  I made them with some scrap fabric and didn't worry about making them seamless.  They are soled with dark grey felt which I added some hot glue dots to so I don't fall on my butt in the kitchen.   I've decided to call them frankenslippers, because they are cobbled together, have open seams, and I kind of walk like Frankenstein's monster trying to keep the right one on since the right one is larger than the left.

My second attempt at slipper making yielded this shiny house shoe:
Golden House Slippers

These are going to be a gift.  They are are seamless, which means they already look tons better than their predecessors.  They aren't perfect though, the one that's hiding underneath had some issues with attaching the sole lining and appears a little warped.  When its being worn its not noticeable at all, and doesn't bunch so its still very fluffy and comfortable. I figured out the problem, and solved it before stitching up the second, very nice one.  I'll probably redo the ugly one before gifting it.

These third slippers are nearly perfect!  I love them in all of their kawaii goodness:
Hello Slippers
There's one little bunch in the back of the left slipper's heel (right of the picture), but other than that, I think they're pretty good.  These little cuties also have a matching drawstring bag to be gifted in.

And now, my crowning achievement, the leap into shoes!  These things can be worn outside, with relative comfort and only a little ow-ow-I-stepped-on-a-rock (they are soft soled shoes).

Aren't they cute?  I love how they turned out.  I even modified the pattern for the natural canvas toe accent.  The shoes are made the same way as the slippers, but with a vinyl sole and foam/fleece insoles.  They are really comfy for bumming around the house AND running outside to get the mail.  I shall have to give them a good outside testing and take a walk in them.

I'm really considering adding some shoes and/or slippers to my Etsy shop.  I think it would be neat to be able to buy a bag and flats to match.  What do you guys think?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Treasury Extraordinary!

I'm still in the process of getting back in the groove, and yesterday I finally got back to my Etsy teams.  Etsy Entrepreneurs always has always been a source of fun and exciting team challenges.  Yesterday was no exception.  I saw that they were having a treasury challenge, so I decided to try my hand at it.  I'm not usually a treasury maker, but I thought this was one of my better ones.  I wanted to share it here in my blog!

Go, check it out!  Click, comment, ect.  I would love to win this challenge! (clicking the title will take you to the treasury itself, on Etsy)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mildred's Make Over

I bought a ruffler foot about a month ago, and finally
got around to using it.
I've been busy this week so far.  So far I've finished a custom order backpack, finished a dress, made a new bag design for the left over dress linen and finished that bag, figured out how to use my ruffler foot, started another patchwork bag, started another companion cube and solved Milly's clashy color problem! 

As Raye pointed out in my last post, Mildred's flashy purple wires are great and all, but they cause some issues too.  Milly is a fun, fabulous piece of furniture, but as a photo prop she was falling short.  I still love her shape and usefulness for showing scale.  So, I went to my closet to see if I had something that would work as a cover before I tried to make something.  I found the perfect solution, just hanging out in my closet: A white sweater dress!   This dress was perfect, as it had a cowl that covered her upper chest and neck part, and it was fitted, so I only had pin it a little bit.   Here are a couple of examples of Mildred's new work:
       And my new orange bag!  Like it?  Go check it out in my shop too!
The ruffled zipper pouch comes with it.
You can find this plaid tote in my shop too!

And of course, the Green Momotaro Tote.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to the Groove

I don't have anything too interesting to post right now, other than to say that I am finally done with the assignment from places best not mentioned on Halloween.  That means I will be home, all day for at least the next week, recouping.  That also means I will have tons of time to get stuff done!  I'm really looking forward to getting back to my sewing machine.  I'm not so excited for the loss of income, but the district didn't have any open spots for me to fill.  On the other hand, with time to spend on my Etsy shop and networking and such, maybe I can get my sales off the ground.  That would be nice... and I'm sure my husband would enjoy opening up some of the space that is currently occupied by my inventory.

I've already started on my to do list.  On Saturday, I took my new wire dress frame outside to re photo some of my bags.  I really like how they turned out.  I think they look much better on a suedo human than just sitting on the shelf or hanging on a hook on the wall.  She is of course a little smaller than normal people sized, but its a good approximation.
I named her Mildred!
What do you folks think about using a dress frame/mannequin vs. hang on the wall or sitting on a shelf?  If you were a buyer, which would entice you more?