All Aboard the Entrepreneur-ship!

I have been thinking a LOT lately about working for myself, being my own boss. I was thinking that was the only way I would be truly happy. I want to be creative, but not get taken advantage of for my ideas and designs. I wanted to make my own schedule, and go where I need when I wanted to. I want to see sunshine and not be in a stuffy office all day. I want a day off sometimes and for it not to ruin my paycheck. So, I started to take my side business and hobby for sewing more seriously. I am going to sew and create bags out of re-purposed materials and join the craft fair circuit. It meets all of the criteria of the perfect job I was looking for! So with the inspiration of this cartoon by Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes,) I was motivated to follow happiness, and to quit my day job.

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My new office is my spare bedroom, which has been a craft room since we moved in, but now is my full time place of creative employment.

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I’ve read SO MANY of the Etsy articles on crafters that quit their day job, and it has inspired me. They all talk about how hard it can be financially, but I am confident that with the craft fairs, Etsy sales, and friends buying my stuff, it will work out.

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I can watch movies, listen to jazz, and talk to my fiancée, who is also working from home, in the back yard, as a gardener / farmer.

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I love to scour the thrift stores and antique stores for materials to use in my bag making, like aprons, belts, zippers, and rolls of fabric. A LOT will go to the craft fairs, but check my Etsy for new things.

Happy Dream Following!

DIY Snap Cowl

For a while now I have loved these snap scarves from System63 on Etsy  and wanted to make one for myself. Recently a friend gave me some of her old leather scraps and another person gave me some soft wool and I finally had what I needed!

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System63 Has some amazing stuff. Perfect for fall.

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The inspiration!

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My scarf!

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I liked it so much I made 3 different ones. I would love to sell these on Etsy since I wanted to share my items, but don’t know if I should sell a mock up of someone else’s creation.

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Here’s one made with soft wool and cotton lining. All of the fabrics were given to me from friends, and the leather trim is actually a sleeve from a suede jacket.

I hope you can find inspiration from Etsy, or Pinterest and make your own creations! Happy Sewing!

 

My First Craft Fair

I’ve been sewing since I was old enough to hold a needle (safely) and always thought of it as a fun hobby. I liked to hand stitch doll clothes, then clothes for myself, (which got me made fun of in High School, but I didn’t care.) I made pants for a local vintage resale shop with fabric sewn into the sides of jeans at $5 a pair. I made simple circle skirts out of plaid fabric to wear with my vintage t-shirts in High School. I upgraded to using patterns by the time I was 19 making shirts and quilts. I made stuffed animals for relatives children, and wine bottle holders out of felt and hot glue. Then I started to make handbags and found my real sewing passion. These are not only fun, but you don’t have to sell them to fit one and only one person at a time. You can create what you want, use any fabrics you see fit and market your creations online. (Hello Etsy!)

So this 4th of July weekend will be the first time I take my hobby large scale, and do a Craft Fair. I went from having 20 or so bags on Etsy (as a hobby for extra money here and there,) to having close to 200 total bags, stuffed animals, leather cuffs and keychains, pillows, and framed art pieces. I talked to a friend a few months ago about a craft market in Door County, Wisconsin that she does with her and her husband’s garden supply and plant business. She said it’s so busy at this craft market / farmer’s market that her tent sells out completely. Tell you the truth, I saw dollar signs more than a good time, but I wanted to take my craft and share it with people. I love to take fabrics from thrift stores, like linens and curtains, as well as fabric samples from Interior Design and Upholsters and make something awesome from materials that would have otherwise been tossed. I like to create while lowering my carbon footprint.

So for months I’ve been reading articles on how to set up a craft booth, pictures on what makes a booth enticing, and what to bring with you for success. So much to do! Here’s my Pinterest board if anyone else is interested in this info.

For now, here’s a sneak peek at my inventory.

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The whales were fun to make, and were made with vintage  button eyes, and leftover materials from local interior design studios.

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With wedding season coming up, I thought I would do a collection of bridesmaid and bride clutches. The only thing purchased for this set was the zippers.

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Tagging everything was fun, plus I got to see how many things I really made. I didn’t realize the amount in inventory till I started putting price tags on it all.

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The little beanbag chickens were the fiancee’s idea. I think they are fun.

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These ricepacks are stuffed with rice (duh) and home grown and dried lavender and lemon verbena. When you heat them they will smell heavenly.

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Clutch inventory!

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More bags

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I’m using business cards as price tags. I got 500 from Vistaprints for like $10.

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I made a ton of large bags for farmer’s markets, the beach, or the gym. I love digging through the materials I got for free and finding ones that match and creating something from nothing. The one here is made from 100% repurposed materials from Interior Designers or yard sales.

I’ll post again with the results! Happy Holiday Weekend!

DIY Bag made with Shorts

Last year I was looking for a shortcut to not have to make pockets for insides of a bag. What has a lot of pockets that are already assembled? Shorts! Men’s bermuda shorts (or ladies) have 4-5 pockets and a lot of material to work with. They are usually neutral in color, or have subtle stripes. So I decided to buy a pair really cheaply, and get to work. First I needed to come up with a plan…

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I opted for a shoulder bag, big enough for a magazine or two, maybe a tablet, some pens, and whatever else. I wanted the back pockets to be the inside, which left me with the front pockets and extra fabric for the inside flap and sides.

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My measurements were 11″ tall x 8″ wide. I cut two pieces with the back side for the insides of the bag. I made the depth 4″, wide enough to put a cell phone in the sides of the outside.

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I also undid the hems to give myself more fabric.

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I got so caught up in making a bag I neglected to take too many pictures, but I didn’t intend to make a tutorial, just show the readers what you can do with re-purposing!

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I used the front pocket to make some storage in the front of the bag. Perfect for pens, toiletries, or anything really.

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I used a piece from the bottom for a side pocket, and the tiny pocket from the front on the other side. I even found a matching belt for the strap!

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The finished messenger! I had the blue canvas as a gift from a friend, and the leather was a scrap piece. The only thing I bought was the buckle. The button even came off of the shorts! The finished product is on my Etsy store. Think of all YOU can do with a pair of shorts or an men’s shirt?

Happy re-purposing!

Simple DIY For a Rainy Day

I know I haven’t blogged in a few days, (or weeks) and I need to get back on the horse. Looking forward to going back to school in the fall has me working a lot to save money and leaves me with little time for crafting. So I thought, what are some easy DIY projects that I could complete in an afternoon, with materials I already have? I found a few on Pinterest and wanted to share them with you so you (and I) can try them out!

DIY Basket

How about an easy DIY Dip Dyed basket? You can get baskets at the thrift shop for under a dollar and if you don’t feel like making a mess with a bucket of paint, just tape off a line around the basket and paint it on.

DIY abstract art

How about a piece of art to fill a lonely wall? You can get a canvas at a local hobby shop for under $10 and three colors of paint to mix and match for $1 a piece. Use a piece of parchment paper or tin foil taped to a flat hard surface (like a notebook or sketchbook) and mix and paint away! Or even lay your canvas flat, squeeze the paint on in little globs and mix the colors together. Have fun!

DIY bleach towels

This looks simple enough! If you don’t have the tea towels you can find some fabric at a thrift shop or hobby store for cheap. You can them hem the sides an inch a piece, making 10″ x 10″ squares and bleach your own pattern.

DIY Granola

Looking for something to bake, that’s healthy? I find every time I want to make granola I have just about every ingredient to do so in the cabinet. You can bake it long enough to make cereal or neglect stirring it too often and make chunks to snack on. I’ve made this recipe a number of times and always get great results.

DIY Fabric Box

If you’re itching to sew, you can make one of these little guys with scraps, old dress shirts (pockets!), or canvas. Use a stiff material to keep them from flopping, and add handles and make any size you want! Hang them from door handles, put them at the base of the stairs for things to bring up, or keep them in the kitchen for spices or tea bags.

DIY Scrapbook

I don’t know about you but I tend to keep scrap booking materials everywhere I go. Coasters, brosures, business cards, stickers, receipts, writs bands, and photos. This is a fun and easy way to keep them all together. You can use key rings and a hole punch to make your book at little to no money, if you already have the materials.

Happy Rainy Day DIY!