Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sewing for Tiny Tots book review

I'd like to say that the title of this post reflects what I am currently sewing. However that is not the case. I actually don't have too many tiny tots around to sew for. Come to think of it, I don't even have one. (This would be a great time to toss in a "hint, hint" to my kids if I thought they were reading ... hee! hee!) It's actually the name of a book I purchased the other day at Joann Fabrics (with my 4o% off coupon of course).

Knowing that I don't have tiny tots to sew for you may be wondering why in the world am I reviewing a book about sewing for little ones? Because you might have little ones to sew for and if you haven't yet discovered this book you'll want to check it out.

This past weekend I stopped by Joann's to see if they had the new Vogue patterns in stock (they didn't). While in the store, I decided to browse through the book selection to see if they had any interesting altered art or mixed-media books that I could add to my collection.

I'm not sure how the books are organized at the Joann's you frequent, but in the store I frequent the books are semi-organized by topic, although they are not neatly displayed as they would be in a bookstore. While they all face out, they are stacked three, four and even five deep. Which means you have to flip through the stack to see the covers of the books near the back of the pile. (Kind of like the old record stores when you flipped through album covers... oh c'mon. I know some of you remember doing that!)

Anyway, as I was flipping through the books looking for altered art or mixed-media books, I spy an adorable little girl with an animal print scarf trimmed with pink feathers wrapped around her neck, holding a matching bag, on the cover of a book. I simply had to pull the book out to get a closer look.

A quick flip through the pages and that book ended up in my shopping basket.

Sewing for Tiny Tots: Sweet & Simple Clothes, Toys & Room Accents, by Susan Cousineau, published by Lark/Chapelle, c. 2007.

The book, at 9" x 8", is smaller than your typical book but the 136 pages are packed full of fun ideas for tiny tots.

The book begins with the usual section on basics, including choosing and preparing fabrics, making templates, marking and cutting fabric, basting, piecing a quilt, fusible web applique, basic embroidery techniques, and photo transfers.

It then moves onto basic materials, tools and equipment needed to complete the projects. Nothing special, just the basic tools any sewer would have on hand.

Then comes the fun part. The 40 projects, divided into sections.

Sweet Dreams, covering nursery and bedroom decor, includes projects such as a sweet dreams bunny pillow, a counting sheep wall quilt, bedtime buddies crib mobile, and a snuggle bug crib blanket.

Cutie Pie moves onto stylish clothing and accessories. This section is definitely my favorite with items such as cute as a button critter cap, designer denim bibs, see ya later alligator scarf and mittens and the aforementioned chic kitty purse and scarf.

Discover and Play bring you to toys for fun and active learning and includes an ocean friends activity mat, wiggly worm play pal, pocket bunny activity blanket, and sweet treats counting book.

Hugs & Heartstrings, the last section, is for precious keepsakes and memory crafts. Here you can learn how to make a keepsake birth pillow, a spring blossom diaper bag, or baby's first year soft keepsake book.

Not only are the instruction clearly written and organized, but there are plenty of full color photographs through out the book.

There are a few negatives with the book:

First of all, the templates provided for the projects need to be enlarged anywhere from 200 to 700 percent. I understand why publishers do that, and it does help keep the cost of the book low, but I still find it a bit annoying. I don't know about you, but I want to be able to copy the templates on my home printer not drag the book to a copy-center.

Secondly, I didn't find too many project ideas for the little guys. There are a few, but they are mostly for infants. Girls rule in this book.

I'll never make all of the projects that are included in this book. But realistically, how often do any of us make every single project provided in a book we purchase? There are enough cute ideas that I was willing to add this book to my sewing and craft library even without a tiny tot to sew for (at least in the foreseeable future.)

If you like to sew for little ones, at $12.95 I think the book is great value. At $12.95 less my 40% off coupon, the book was a steal.

And just in case you were wondering. I did indeed find a new mixed-media book that really got my mind racing with ideas. But that's another story for another day. Pin It

Monday, April 06, 2009

So how did I get into that magazine anyway?

First of all, let me say thanks to all of you for the kind words and congrats!

I admit it. It was fun to be in a national magazine.

So how in the world did they find me?

It was one of those "in the right place at the right time" moments.

I know, I know. It sounds so cliche.

But seriously folks that's what it was.

Last November I was browsing the Etsy forums and happened to read a posting about a reporter with First magazine looking to speak with someone who was using Etsy to clear clutter from their home.

Now, if you have ever browsed the Etsy forums you know how quickly the conversations happen and how quickly the information scrolls from the front page. I just happened to look at the forums at the exact moment this was posted.

I said to myself "shoot, your excess sewing patterns could certainly be considered clutter" and contacted the reporter via email. Gotta be honest here. It was purely selfish. I figured the publicity for my pattern shop could be good for business as well as drive more people to Etsy.

We emailed back and forth a few times and she asked me to send a photo of myself. A few weeks later she asked to schedule a phone interview with me.

That phone interview happened in December. At that point she had to pitch to story to her editor so I still had no idea if they were interested.

Almost a month went by and I heard nothing and thought "oh well, it would have been fun" and then forgot about it.

Until the the end of January when I received a call that they were going to use my story in the magazine.

Not only that, but they were sending a professional photographer as well as a hair and makeup artist!

So on a dreary gray day in February my sewing studio was transformed in a photo studio. While the hair and makeup artist did her magic, the photographer's assistant had to string lights from outside up to my second floor windows so it would be nice and bright.

They were incredibly nice to work with but when they leave you realize you have no idea at all which photo they will decide is the best.

On a lark, I happened to pick up the latest issue of the magazine while doing my weekly Sunday night grocery shopping. I had been told that the issue would be an early summer edition so I was certainly surprised to see myself while I was flipping through the pages.

So the moral of the story?

Well, there really isn't one. If you're looking to promote yourself or your business, just keep your eyes and ears open. When an opportunity presents itself don't be afraid to jump up and down and holler "pick me! pick me!" because you just never know. You could be the next one featured in print. Pin It

Sunday, April 05, 2009

May I have some more time please?

May I have some more time please?

You see, the weekend has almost come to an end. And I have yet to spend a little quality one-on-one time with my sewing machine.

Any why not you ask? Because last week, every night after work was booked, which meant no time to sew. And this weekend was just a continuation of more of the same:
  • Saturday afternoon I was a volunteer face painter at Cheerful Giver's birthday bash at MOA. Which meant Saturday morning was spent preparing for the event. Lots of little ones stopped by and soon there were happy faces transformed into blue cats, pink butterflies, green snakes and even super heroes.
  • Returning home of the event, I had just enough time to put away my supplies and grab a bite to eat before heading off to church. And of course we like to spend time socializing after church.
  • Saturday night was date night. We kept it low key this weekend with pizza and a movie - at home.
  • Sunday morning I was up bright and early putting on my clown face to volunteer with my dad at an annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny event. I filled the balloons and tied them, he made the balloon animals. I tied over 300 balloons. My fingers still ache.
  • After the clowning event, hubby and I stopped at my parents to wish them well before they head off on a well-deserved and long -over vacation. Turns out the last time my mother flew was when she and my father spent a week house-hunting in Houston. In 1968. She's in for a surprise isn't she?
  • Of course after we returned home there was the laundry and the grocery shopping and the cleaning...*sigh*
And now I find that it is Sunday evening. One last load of laundry is waiting to be put away.

Too late to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine tonight.

Let's hope when I am able to spend time with her she remembers how much she enjoys the feel of fabric running beneath her feet and our time together will be productive.

'Till then. Happy sewing all! Pin It

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm a "Sellsumer" or extending my 15 minutes of fame

"A recession-induced need for cash, and an ever-growing infrastructure enabling individuals to act as (part-time) entrepreneurs, are fueling concepts that help ordinary consumers make money instead of just spending it. "Sellsumers" If saving is the new spending, then selling is the new saving.
At least that's what the latest trendwatching.com report says.

In a nutshell, the report talks about how the various and often ingenious ways people have found to generate secondary income. This is the sellsumer trend, not to be confused with the spiking ongoing trend of "starting a business as a primary source of income."

According to the report, Etsy is the "sellsumer-posterchild".

I am an Etsy seller. Therefore I am a sellsumer. And I can prove it.

Are you ready? Here comes my shameless attempt at extending my 15 minutes of fame.

First Magazine mentioned me in the article "Transform your clutter into $3,000"!

Now before you go any further, let me set the record straight. I personally did not transform my clutter into $3,000. I wish I had, but I didn't.

Three woman were profiled in the article:
  • One - the collector - sells on eBay.
  • Another - the mover - sells on Craigslist.
  • And moi - the crafter - sells on Etsy.
See? There I am, all smiles as I tell the readers "I turned my old sewing patterns into cash!"


It certainly was a fun experience, especially having my hair and make up done by a professional make up artist just for a magazine photo shoot. It's also really weird to see yourself while you're flipping through a national magazine.

I still have a sewing patterns for sale in my Etsy shop with many more to be listed so stop by anytime.

And if you're curious about transforming your clutter into $3,000 - well, you'll just have to pick up the April 20, 2009 issue of First magazine and read about it for yourself. Pin It

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