Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wow! And *blush*

Guess what?  One of MY scarves was featured in this FABULOUS magazine!!!!
Read the full issue for free here!
The Magazine itself is a wonderful ode to the modern homesteader, with some fantastic articles on small livestock like goats, beekeeping, and even a feature for kids on the homestead.  The magazine is free, online, and available in PDF form to save the articles!  I'd never read the magazine before, but I will be in the future!  The reason I discovered it, was that a customer sent me a message in my Etsy shop, asking about the featured scarf, and she led me to the magazine itself. 

Here is my scarf, on page 26--

That's me!  The Green Scarf!  OMG!  *faints*
So, thank you to From Scratch which has a mission statement I can 100% stand behind:
Makes me want to get out there and till up the gardens early--- but I suppose I should wait for the ground to thaw up here in Michigan.  *sad face*  So, go check it out- it's really a great publication, and I'm so excited to be featured in it!!!! 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pinterest and Polyvore Promotion

I'd like to show folks HOW to utilize the various shopping and social networks available out there to maximize your visibility across the internet.......

And, this is assuming that you, dear reader, have NO experience with such things.  (Which is not true for many of you, but may be for some........)

NOTE==== you can click on ANY of the photos in this tutorial to blow them up if the writing is too small for you. :)

First up:  PINTEREST!!!!!!  
Other than being my very favorite site to use, Pinterest has a dedicated set of users, all pinning and re-pinning away.  You can set up your account, and then spend HOURS browsing and pinning to hundreds of boards that you organize according to what's in them.

For example--- I have my etsy items on various boards, but I also have a Yoga board, a gardening board, recipe boards, even a board dedicated to Bento lunches!

Here:  take a peek:

But, since we are working on promoting our Etsy shops, let me show you how to pin an item from your shop.  Etsy has a "pin-it" button on every item listing page--- let's use it!!!!!!!  (But first, did you create an account?  Do that first.)

This will open a window, where you choose which board you'd like to pin to, or you can create a NEW board right there in the pop-up.

The site is VERY user friendly.  Get to know it, organize your boards, follow your friends, and enjoy the promotion to your site each time someone repins your item, or clicks on that pin which will send them directly to your etsy store.

Here are GREAT articles discussing how to further your pinterest/etsy connection:


Next : POLYVORE !!!!!!!!!!!!
Polyvore is a site where you can create "sets", basically collections of things set up as an outfit.  Now, if you sell anything you can wear--- clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes--- Polyvore is an untapped wonderland of possible visits to your etsy shop.  It is a bit more work, and a little less user friendly than Pinterest, but you may find that is well worth your time to put together an "outfit" once a week.  I'm brand new to the site, so I don't know all the tips and tricks yet--- but I thought I'd share what I've learned so far:

First, create an account.  Then--- HERE is the secret ingredient to getting your item out there--- you'll need to install the "clipper" to your bookmarks toolbar.  Like this (Make sure that your bookmark toolbar is open by going to "options" and making sure the bookmark toolbar is checked) :

Now that you have that, all you need to do is click on that "clip to polyvore" from any listing in your shop.  Let's do a scarf, and then we'll make an outfit to match it. :)  Type in any tags you want shoppers to find when they are looking to make their own sets.

Voila!  Your item will now be saved in your profile, under "items".  Next, we need to "create a set".  This is the fun part.  Basically, you drag stuff over to your board to create an outfit using your item in the outfit.  You can always crop and change the background of the items as well - play with that.

Now I start searching for items already on Polyvore (or add more items from my friend's etsy shops to complete the outfit!), and drag those over too:

Bada bing!  Now your item is part of a collection.  More bang for your buck?  See that "pin it" button up there?  Do it!  :)

It does take a little bit of time to start this, like anything, you'll have to play around with it and get used to how the site works.  You'll be a pro in no time!  Read this article on the Etsy blog for more:

That's all I can type up for now, but I promise to cover StumbleUpon and Wanelo soon--- I need to play with it more before I can give you a good tutorial.  Now go-- Pin it!  Clip it!  Set it!  :)

Let me know if you have questions, and I'll be glad to accept requests on further tutorials! :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Upcycled Boot Tutorial

Okay, this can BARELY be called a tutorial........ but have you SEEN these boots yet??????

Boots for sale at LuxuryJones.com

I've really, really, really been wanting a pair....... but the price tag is a bit steep for me at the moment.

So, what do we do when we WANT something, but we're broke?

WE MAKE IT!!!!!!!

Hopefully, you've got a pair of old boots lying around.

1.  Now, the boots above from LuxuryJones are full length, slit down the back, and folded down.  THEN embellished.  I didn't have a pair of full length boots I was willing to sacrifice on a first attempt at this, but I DID have a pair of beat up old ankle boots I got at Goodwill last year for $3.  I also had a bunch of belts that *ahem* didn't quite fit anymore, due to.....well......pie.    I gathered all my "junk":
Ankle Boots, Lace Scarf, Buckles, belts, brooches and old jewelry.

2.  I played with everything.  There were some pretty ugly ones before I decided what I'd do.  I cut the lace scarf in half.  I chose a magenta belt for one boot, and a leather rope belt for the other.  I chose some brass jewelry (one for each boot), and a couple of brooches.  I even grabbed a charm from this etsy shop - it says "marches to the beat of her own drum".  (I thought that one a clever addition to the boots.)

3.  Once I decided on the "junk" that would be added to the boots, I had to decide on HOW to get it all on there.  The end choice?  HIGH temp hot glue.   I know, I know.  A woman and hot glue gun.  Watch out world.  I haven't worn these yet, so I don't know for sure that it will hold up, but I will edit this post if anything goes astray with an edit.  Promise. :)

....a.  First, I glued the scarf around the boot.  Since these were ankle boots to begin with, I didn't need to fold them or anything.  I just glued the half scarf how I wanted it draped all the way around the boot.
.....b.  I put the necklaces on.  Since I put the belts OVER the necklaces, and secured them down, they didn't need glue.
.....c.  Belts.  Glue on belt, belt on boot.  Like I said above, not much of a tutorial, eh? ;)
.......d.  brooches and charms.  I tied on the charm and secured the knot with glue, and pinned on the brooches.  I didn't commit to the brooches by securing them with glue, because I'm not sure I like them yet.  (like the Art Deco Rose?  I made it.)

and...................... voila!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My very own hobo/boho boots.  I plan to wear these with a skirt I'm going to make sometime this week, of which I'll try to post a tutorial as well.  I want to make a brown corduroy circle skirt with a tied waistband.

I'd love to see your boots!!!!!!!!!  Link below, or just ask questions!


Friday, March 8, 2013

I'm big in Japan........maybe.

So, what's the news with your shop?

Oh, I'm so very glad you asked.

Did you know that I'm huge in Japan?

Or, technically, I MIGHT be!?

Here's the story.  So, way back in October, I got a message from a fashion house in Tokyo.  They were wondering if I'd offer a wholesale discount on sweaters, because they'd like to feature them in their runway shows starting March 11th.

*faints*  *hits head on floor*


So I stitched 6 sample sweaters for them:
Two samples of my Weasley Monogram embroidery on British wool sweaters
I'm just about dying waiting for the show and the photos that the organizer will send of MY sweaters on the runway.
The Classic Fred and Ron
I mean, how can I possibly contain my excitement?  A little lady from Michigan makes a sweater, which is shipped to Tokyo, and appears in a RUNWAY show?  For boutiques and shops there to place orders from?  Which I will then receive from the organizer and I quote "have three months to finish the order and ship it out".........  UM YES.  I'm having a hard time sleeping.
Two more sweaters.  I offer them here, you know.

So that was the first thing.  THEN!!!! I had a wonderful customer contact me via Etsy, and ask if I could make her a hat to cover her Necomimi headset.  My first question was "I'm really not that hip, so could you explain what a Necomimi headset is?"

Apparently, they are HUGE in Japan.  And with geekery folks and techies. Biofeedback cat ears that move with your emotions:
Necomimi Store

So, I did a search, found the specs for the dimensions of the thing, and WHAMMO!  Knit up a hat for her.  Turns out, I am the ONLY one in the world who makes them.  :)

My hat, modeled by Tracy, a fabulous customer.  Available here.
Have I sold one yet, besides the original?  Well...... no.  BUT!  Last night, the company who created the Necomimi headsets, Neuroware, PINNED and promoted my hat on facebook.  Oh boy, says I.  This means I'm going to be huge in Japan.

Again, as in all that I create, I never know what will be a hit, and what a time-sucking masterful pile.  But at least there is HOPE.

So here I sit, hoping.  I'll keep you updated.  Unless nothing happens, and then I'll leave you wondering, as I drink bottles of wine on the couch, watching old episodes of Dr. Who.


Edited to Add:  Nothing happened.  I'm NOT big in Japan.  :(  No more sweaters were ordered following the fashion show (to high of a price point for the buyers..)  And apparently, the need for Necomimi headset hats is not a very big niche.  More like a niche of .......... 1.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Comic- Dumber

or Homer or Euripedes, for that matter?

Yes, folks.  I'm making comics.  Little comics.  Silly comics.  But I want to.  So I shall.


Monday, March 4, 2013


EDITED TO ADD::: This giveaway is complete!  Congratulations to Connie from CA!!!!!!
Giveaway.  Free.  Gratis.

I recently got into a tussle with LionsGate films.  (Well, in truth, they contacted Etsy, and Etsy contacted me.)

Apparently, this scarf violates their intellectual property.
Katniss Scarf, handmade by me.
The funniest part of all this?

I made up the idea, and sold my first iteration of the idea back in February of 2011.  13 months before the first movie was released........So don't I have the intellectual property rights?  *laughs*

Katniss Jacket, made and sold in early 2011.

 I don't feel like getting in a tussle with a major movie producer over a scarf.  I really think they have bigger fish to fry.... but I'm gonna be a turtle and let it ROLL off my back.

Soooooooo....... bad news for me, great for you!  I'm going to GIVE IT AWAY.  I'm hosting the giveaway on my Sewecological facebook page, and I welcome you all to enter and win a totally free scarf.  I'm fairly certain they can't nail me for giving away a gift?  Right?  I hope so.

Giveaway Link

The Drawing for the winner of the scarf will be March 15th.  Good luck!!!!!

My Facebook Page
My Etsy Store


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Do not despair......

A little late for the resolution starting, but I typically do this around my birthday, and March 1st is the beginning of a new year for me.  Four years ago, I started working out again since I'd left the Army on this date, and lost almost 40 pounds in three months.  So, that's at least ONE year where my resolutions panned out.

But now, 1460 days later....... I find myself feeling despondent.  I don't think I could put it much better than Hyperbole and a Half did:

So, this is my attempt to crack through the crust of depression.  Despair.  Despondency.  Whatever you want to call it.  I need a FRICKING plan.  I need a FREE plan, as $$ will not buy happiness.  I've tried that, and now I'm broke AND depressed.  This post is to remind myself of six little things. It's mainly a post for me, but it might help you get on the right track too......

Here are my six commandments of getting back to myself:

#1:   There shall be yoga.  Mine won't be underwater, but it will be fulfilling.  A workout that I actually ENJOY?  Why the hell am I making excuses NOT to do it?  Spock would not be proud of my logic.

For the body.

#2  There shall be time for creativity.  This is something that, since I quit the very cerebral job of teaching, has become my JOB.  And yet, somehow, in the last three months, I've sucked all the joy and exuberance out of creating something.  Being mindful of how I approach designing and creating will help immensely.  At least I think so.  It can't hurt, right?

Caveat:  This is NOT my craftroom.  However much I wish it was, I stole it from pinterest.

#3 Do Small Things with Great Love.  My good friend, Cris (who happens to own a fabulous etsy shop), sent me something for my birthday.  This little bracelet is to be a daily reminder that the "chores" and "tedium" need to be approached as something else entirely.  Once again, being mindful of how I THINK about dirty laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning will change my feelings toward them.  Will I ever actually look forward to doing them?  The answer is very likely a resounding NO.  But if I want to get out of this dark hole, something needs to be done about my shitty attitude.

Get your own! This one's MINE!
#4 Eat Well.  Cook often.  Enjoy food.  I'm not a fan of "dieting".  It sucks the life out of the kitchen.  But I am a fan of eating well, without processed crap.  I take great joy in cooking.  This is a focus that I've recently been focusing on to great delight.  Pinterest, of course, is helping.  Thank GAWD for pinterest.  Why hit the "save as favorites" button a million times, when I can just repin?  So the goal for my healthy mind AND body?  No white foods, except on Saturdays.  Saturday will be my "binge" day.  I will eat whatever fattening recipe I choose to make on Saturday, including pie.  I did this four years ago when I lost all that weight, and it was a huge success.  Eat healthy, cook real food, and eat it.  I think I can handle that- right lovehandles?

My actual kitchen, recently made over.  :)
 #5 Get out in the Garden.  This one is a "to do" and a joy.  As soon as this crust of snow and ice goes away, I'm going to create an urban garden to die for.  My little one acre plot?  Shall be a heaven on earth.  That's the plan, anyhow.

#6 Enjoy. life.  I need to take the time to do something that is completely for me.  1-2 hours per day.  I find myself wanting to do a puzzle, play a video game, read a book that is NOT on the 1001 books to read before you die.  Make something for ME.  Whatever it is, it does NOT have to be on the "to do list".  Too often, I put these things off because they don't "count".  They are not "productive".  Well screw that.  I'm 34 years old (don't tell), and it's about damn time I enjoy life.

Get your reminder here.

There.  That should about do it.  Six things.  Small things.  Mindfulness, awareness, health, body, work, home, and family all wrapped up in six things to get my mind right.  What could possibly go wrong?

*don't listen to the negative*
*don't listen to the ego*



Friday, March 1, 2013

The Lazy Seamstress ::: Full Gathered Skirt Tutorial

Today is my birthday, and I wanted something new for myself.  What I really wanted was a heavy circle skirt made out of luscious material.  But I DO own a sewing machine, and I DON'T have a very large disposable income.........

So I made one.

Three things you should know about THIS seamstress.

1.  I am a lazy seamstress.  I don't like to sew fussy things.  I don't like to measure, let alone add interfacing, binding, zippers, and the like.  I CAN do those things, I just prefer not to.

2.  I don't "do" patterns.  Every time I do, I feel like I'm taking my physics finals all over again.  I start to get the shakes, sweat all over the fabric, and sew things inside out and backwards.  Without fail. Every. single. time.

3.  I don't "write" patterns either.  I fiddle around with something, fold it, twist it, and make something up on the spot.  I'm usually lucky if I can remember what I did the next day.  So, please excuse me if this tutorial sucks raw lemons.  I thought this was too easy to screw up, and hopefully I'm right! :)

6 yards (or less if you want it less "full") of whatever fabric you have lying around.  I happened to have this lovely dupioni I've been hoarding for over a year.
Length of 3/4" elastic to match your waist.
OPTIONAL: ribbon trim for "waistband".  Whatever length your fabric is.  I highly recommend the trim, as it hides the "laziness" of your double duty casing/waistband.

There are only 3!! steps to this "Lazy women's skirt."  I figure it will make more sense if I tell the story in my pitiful mousepaint pictures than if I tried to over-explain it with inadequate wording.

You COULD french seam, add a "real" waistband, increase the casing size for wider elastic, add trim to the bottom, etc.  This is just a starting point. :)

***CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE if you can't read them***

See?  It's easy. It took me ten minutes.  If you have questions, don't be shy!  Now I just need a gold tank to go with this, and some new shoes.  Man, how I wish I could just make THOSE.  Imagine..... making your own shoes.  I'd never leave the house.