Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Goals

Summer Goals

This summer, since I'm lacking the structure provided by a 9-5 job, I thought it would be a good idea to make some solid summer goals. Most are self-explanitory, and some are already somewhat complete. A little more info:

1. I have a vintage Schwinn cruiser that I let get all rusty. I think it needs a new paint job and one of these!
3.  I have a serious lack of upper body strength, and it's starting to annoy me. I downloaded the "Hundred Pushups" app for my iphone, and I've already built up to doing 22 pushups. Whew. 
4. Every summer I wish I had gone to the beach more, so this year I'm putting a number on it.
5. Last year I totally failed at growing things. 
6. I'll write more about this later, but it's this sweater in particular.
8. In prep for the last movie!
9. Not to sell, not to worry about - just art for art's sake.

ps. Check out the new blog design and let me know what you think! Meghan made me a lovely new logo/banner, and I changed things up just a little to reflect it. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My first Blogher Book Club review

I mentioned awhile ago that I am now part of the BlogHer advertising hub, and that includes reviewing books for their Book Club.

My first review - an >ahem< honest and constructive criticism of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - is up on the BlogHer site now. Click over to read!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Something New: Felt & Fabric Brooches

Ok, this is my last round of beautiful photographs of my work - I swear! (All beautiful photos by Meghan Canavan)

I decided to change the design for my heart brooches. I added vintage fabric to a felt heart, and then hand embroidered the whole thing, adding cute buttons along the way. The effect is very summery.

This yellow one is my favorite:

my favorite heart brooch

more new heart brooches

After making the hearts, I thought circles would be cute. They look like girl scout badges, right?

new circle brooches

Have a great weekend - hope your weather is better than our's in Chicago (cold-ish but still humid)!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Something New: Bracelets

Just like the headbands, I'd been planning to make bracelets for awhile. I love the way they turned out - the perfect pop of color!

They come in two shapes: hearts & circles. Like the headbands, they are hand cut with hand embroidered accents, and then machine sewn together for durability. They snap shut with a little pearly snap.

circle bracelet

all the circle bracelets together

heart bracelet

a few heart bracelets

Once again, all photos by my lovely sister, Meghan.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something New: Headbands

I wanted to add some new designs to my "line" for the craft show. I'd been thinking about making headbands for awhile, and this was the kick in the pants I needed!

The shapes are all hand cut, with hand embroidered accents. They are machine sewn together to make sure the elastic band is sewn in nice and tight. I wore one each day of the show and they are comfortable and cute! They'll be in my etsy shop later this week - hopefully Friday.

heart headband in action

heart headbands

leaf headband in action

leaf handbands

The leaf headband was the big seller of the show - I only have 3 left. 

circle headband in action

circle headbands

All photos by Meghan Canavan, that talented little photographer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10 Things I learned from My First Craft Fair

buy my wares!

1. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Some people want to talk while shopping, and some don't. I found that a simple greeting made it easy for me to gauge people's interest and help them shop if needed. Also - I was a little nervous that someone might steal my stuff, and greeting people is a deterrent. And talk to the other merchants! Everyone seemed distant at first, but I was really glad that I made the leap to chat with them - we made friends with the ceramic artist next door!

2. Get a dolly. No more lifting for me - my shoulders are killing me. 

like father, like daughter.
Like father, like daughter. And there's Meghan in the background. 

3. Family is invaluable. My whole family came to help this weekend and keep me company. My sister, Meghan, drove in on Thursday and stayed through Monday. She made me a new logo, hand-wrote all my signs, drank beers with me and did a lot of the heavy lifting (literally). When things got a little slow on Sunday, we traded off leaving the booth and shopping. Who else would do this but family? Sidenote: we both fell off our chairs within a 24 hour period - Meghan on Sunday night, me on Monday at the yarn store. Yup, we were tired. 

4. Have one awesome thing that catches the eye and draws people in. For me, it was the "Mounted Curios" display. People would laugh and point, and then they would come and look at the rest of my stuff. One kid even walked toward it like a zombie, chanting "mustachesssss." I think next time I'll make one giant mustache and see how it goes!


5. Branding is awesome... to a point. So many people commented on the "brand" of my little booth. There were lots of "cute" comments and I was the only red tent on the street (Under the Red Umbrella-tent!). Turns out there's a reason for that - red tent means the light looks red, which means your merch looks weird. At least I looked less pale?

6. The tent is not waterproof. Luckily it only sprinkled for about a half hour on Sunday morning. Whoops. 

practicing the table configuration

7. Practice your set-up beforehand. I set up my table at home beforehand, and took a picture for reference. At the fair, I was able to get the table up in 10 minutes! 

8. Square is a lifesaver. If you're thinking of getting into small business, go for this card reader. It works with your phone, and takes a small percentage of your transactions, but the best part is the app it comes with. You can manage cash and credit card transactions, easily calculate sales tax and take pictures of your sold items. Very useful!

a little set up

9. People either love or hate the mannequin head. Little girls kept petting that blonde wig, and some people were outright afraid of it. Meghan and I named her Lulu.

10. Relax a bit and have fun. On Saturday I was a ball of nerves and only left the tent for about 10 minutes. But on Sunday, I was feeling a little more relaxed and took some time to step outside the tent, do a little shopping, and eat a corn dog, and I had a much better time because of it. It's a fair - have fun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

photos from the craft fair

Well - I did it. I went. People looked. I sold. I'll do a word-y post tomorrow, but in the mean time, a few iphone photos from the craft fair:

the mounted display

bracelets in a suitcase!

headbands & postcards

And a few butterbeers for good measure...


Friday, June 17, 2011

beaded bracelets - my post-craft show reward!

Awhile ago, I read that when you are running your own business and want to stay motivated, it's important to reward yourself for a job well done. In this case, I bought my reward before the job was near finished, but it's helped me stay motivated!

After Danielle from Thompson Family Life posted about beaded friendship bracelets, I could not stop thinking about them. They are the perfect summer bracelet, especially the chevron style. So I bought a bead loom last week, and told myself I'd save it for after the craft fair. So far - so good. 

beaded bracelets - my reward!

There's another specific type of bracelet I want to make:

A Pretty Little Liars bracelet! If you haven't watched this ABC Family show - it's deliciously bad teen melodrama. Each girl in the show has a beaded bracelet with her name on it, and they play a big part in the plot. My sister and I are both love this show (guilty pleasure), so I bought us beads so we could have matching bracelets. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend - I'll be back Monday with lots of pictures from the craft show!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Craft Fair Prep = Intense

The past week has been a little crazy with craft fair preparations. As I mentioned last week, I had to take a surprise trip to Michigan, which interrupted my crafting schedule. After that, I hosted a bachelorette weekend for my friend, Lizz, who is getting married in September. 

So Sunday afternoon, I was ready to get back in the studio, and came up with two new products: a cuff-style bracelet, and some fascinator headbands. 

bracelet factory!
Bracelets in progress

My sister, Meghan, is coming to Chicago tomorrow to help me out. She is a wonderful photographer, so better pictures are to come, but in the mean time, I thought I'd share some peeks at what my desk looks like. A bit trashed, but for good reason - bracelet making!

new headband design on my creepy model

And here's one of my headband designs on my awesome model. She looks good, right? I actually think that glass head is really creepy, but maybe the sunglasses help the creep factor? Or do they add to it?

Side note: sometimes I actually wear that wig. Yup. 

Chris working on the chalboard

Chris built me an easel to display all my mounted plaques and embroideries, and I painted it with chalkboard paint. I think once everything is hung up, it will look really cute. 

Finished chalkboard!

So things are looking good! Once again, the craft fair - Custer's Last Stand Festival - is this Saturday and Sunday in Evanston, so if anyone is in the area and wants to come say "Hi," I'd love to see you!

Ps. Thank you to everyone who has left me comments over the past two weeks - due to a crazy schedule, I haven't responded, but please know they are appreciated! You guys are the best!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Holy Grail :: Hand-tooled Leather

I had to take an unplanned trip home to Michigan this week, which unfortunately disrupted my craft fair prep schedule. But on the bright side, I got to visit my favorite Antique Mall - right off 94 in Coloma, MI. 

And I found my holy grail:

the perfect hand-tooled clutch

I love hand-tooled leather purses and always look for them when thrifting, but have never found one in usable condition. I was hoping to find a shoulder bag, but this clutch was in such pristine condition, with a lovely $20 price tag, I could not pass it up. It will be perfect for all the summer weddings - it's big enough to hold camera, phone, keys, lip products, etc. 

a slew of vintage buttons

I also picked up a few vintage buttons. I love using these in my sewing projects. 

A word about Antique Malls - I usually find that they are overpriced, and not for the faint of heart. They can be huge and overwhelming, but if you're willing to sift through the piles, you can find something great!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Perfect Prop

Although I quit my 9-5 job, I will not be completely jobless this summer. I have a part-time job at Sifu Design Studio - a yarn store in the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago. I will also be teaching classes at Sifu this summer, and they sell some of my art. But on Mondays and Wednesdays, I'm just a regular yarn store employee. 

And today, that meant finding this:

the perfect prop..

Need the perfect prop for modeling your hairy vest? Look no further than this naked baby. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011


There have been some big life changes around these parts. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know (from the incessant count-down): I quit my corporate 9-5 desk job

The reasons for this were at least two: 1. To devote my time to art & small business; and 2. Chris and I are moving to LA.

delicious pie
Pie! I just had to take a picture. 

After visiting LA a few weeks ago, Chris and I fell in love. To leave a 45-degree Chicago day and step off the plane into 90 degrees was heavenly. I'm tired of this cold, endless winter (she types on a day where it's already 85 degrees at 10am). Also - it will enable me to pursue another dream - acting for a living. I'm hoping to break into the world of film, and LA is the place to do it. 

And the last big change, pertaining specifically to the blog: I am now part of the Blogher advertising hub. Not much will change, but I will occasionally post or tweet sponsored content, and I will post links to book reviews I write for Blogher

pile o' fabric!
A pile of fabric from Caitlin of salty//oat - we did a swap!

So, my questions to you, my lovely readers: 
- If you work from home or are a SAHM, how do you keep yourself motivated and on track?
- What kinds of posts would you like to see more of? Are you interested in outfit posts? Book posts? Food posts? Craft posts only?
- How frequently would you like to see these posts? I'm thinking of upping my posts!