About Me

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Birmingham, AL, United States
Working hard on becoming a Craft Superhero, one leap at a time!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Photos Using Auto Afterall

Ok, so I procrastinated even AFTER making my big declaration in my last post. Yesterday, I did not blog at all, but I did read alot of etsy emails and look at etsy stuff, and, woops, even bought a necklace. I also spent a good amount of time on my Project Runway maternity blouse. It's...well, it's happening, sortof!

TODAY, I got down to business! And I was still super tired, and heartburned, but I was determined. I read a bunch more in my photography books from the library, and I made a "To Do" list for how to snowball your etsy business that was in an email from a forum on, you guessed it, etsy.

First things first, I decided to get some photos done and post some pics! I took a whole camera full of photos and even posted my updates on facebook AND twitter! And look, I am blogging!

Here is an extrememly helpful link to those of you needing a little oomph in your etsy business, I am all over it!

And here are my beautiful new pictures! I cannot believe after going through and writiting down every single function my camera had, with notes on which options, flash, no flash, overhead light on, off, etc. that I got the best pics by using Auto, no overhead light (the whole reason my "photo studio" is set up in the bathroom under the sunlamp) and red eye reduction flash. There are no eyes to worry about, well, at least they are only of the felt variety!

I am definitely still a beginner when it comes to photography, but my pictures are getting better! Now to keep my momentum and pic and post, pic and post!

More tomorrow!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back in Action, Slacker Be Gone!

I have come up with alot of excuses lately as to why I haven't been giving my crafting the attention it needs. The In Laws visitied. My Mommy Group has been really active and I have been appointed an office. I'm in two book clubs. Facebook. Lincoln has started a new Mommy and Me class. I am pregnant. (That last sentence just replaced a very long rant about the miracle of the third trimester) And obviously, Project Runway has started again!

Wow. that's alot of excuses.

I did however finish my first assembly line of skunks, and it did not end up taking as long as I thought. 2 hrs. per skunk, and that is for the first batch, so there was a lot of time spent in trial and error and ripping seams to resew inside-out-and-upside-down ears. Now that I have completed the first 11, (barring the last three which I need to buy Poly-fil for) the next assembly line should go more quickly per skunk. I was getting really fast on the last few.

Since I was so off track and haven't picked up my polyfil yet, I decided to do a sewing machine refresher and design myself a maternity top. It's taking shape, and I am making the pattern myself, so it is an adventure. More on that in future blogs.

My new and fresh get-started-again plan is to make myself some deadlines!
  • Buy polyfil
  • Finish taking and adding pictures of etsy inventory
  • Start skunk assembly line #2: 20 skunks!
  • Daily blog

I need to get these done before my impending due date, which will probably put me off the radar a little, but I will try to continue blogging, because this is what makes me stick to my plan!!!

Oh yeah, and bloggers needing motivation, go see Julie and Julia. She was blogtastic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New respect for photographers!

Whew! I spent today doing photo reshoot experiments for my etsy products. I have been on the etsy site doing research on the Storque, in the blogs, convoing with other etsians whose pics I admire, I even got some books at the library. I was ready!
I set up in my bathroom under a heat lamp, the kind they have in hotel rooms that gives a pretty sunlight look. I experimented with different backgrounds and camera settings, but my camera has very few options, it's a digital made for people like me, who don't know how to take pictures, so there really aren't any optional settings, just alot of different scene options, preset. (Y'know, landscape, close up, bright light, snow, beach, children in motion...)

I am not a photographer.

Here are some of my best attempts, I only tried two objects, a star and a robot, so I could get the right look before dragging my whole inventory into it!!!
I used fabric, a towel, and a shag rug under the heat lamp, some with flash, some not. Now if I only knew which settings I used for which pictures?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Shirt on etsy for the super nerdy baby!

first up, for those who have been following the Skunks for Skyla saga, here is a link to her new blog. GO SKYLA! It was also her bithday yesterday, so a very happy 14 to her!

Now back to me! :) I FINALLY got my camera cord in the mail, so armed with the power of a fully charged camera, I set out to redo my etsy photos to make my storefront the mostest! That consisted of doing alot of research on the Storque articles (I did just get the Storque email about this very topic, it would be a waste not to read it!) and then I really wanted to get pics of a tshirt I made so I could post it as a new item. (See photo)

We went on a family walk to get some quality shots, and as soon as I got my star model in the beautiful sunny grassy area, he walked straight up to a giant mound of red ants that swarmed him in less than a second and we ripped off his clothes and shoes. My one year old was miraculously unscathed, but somehow me and Daddy were both bitten about five times each.

I got a few shots, and look forward to another day to work on my other merch, the stars and robots desperately need some TLC, and I have some new Skunks to pic and post as well . I am a really, really crappy photographer, but I take lots of shots, so I get something!

Well, Mommy is soooo sleepy, and I pray that my little man does not awake at 3am again this morning! Good night, and dream of Skunks and robots. I certainly will.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to my Skunks!

I sat down to clock in some time with my skunks during Lincoln's forst nap, and lo and behold, the time card does not lie, I had taken 4 days off from sewing! Shock! I did go out of town for 24 hrs. and I was suffering lack of sleep for a few days, but Jeez Louise! Get back to work already!

I am now starting to make record time per skunk, I am an obsessive timer, so that is good, because I am making WAY under minimum wage. I am hoping once I move on to the next assembly line (20 next time) my speed will even out teh per hour manufacture.

More on Skunks for Skyla... My very good friend Skyla Powers is a world champion fencer, and she constantly needs to raise funds to keep going to competitions to keep her ranking. If she misses a meet, that could throw her off the team and dash her chances for the 2012 Olympics. He rtalent is there, this is all about money. She needs to go to Europe every month to compete, and guess what? The athletes also need to pay for their coach to go. She also needs her mother as an adult escort, since she is at the young age of thirteen going on fourteen.

OK OK, long story short, I will do anything I can to help this kid reach her goals. She loves it and is the best in her field. So my meager offering is of course, SKUNKS FOR SKYLA!

Sklya will have a booth at the Albino Skunk Bluegrass Festival (see photo) and I am sending all the Skunks I can make by the festival for her to sell. I am selling them for $15 and she will get $5 per skunk. I will also list them on etsy and donate $5 from each there for Skyla as well. I will surely be blogging more on this topic as the date approaches. Please feel free to comment with any succesful ideas you have all had with fundraising with your crafts or other outlets. I am making some fabric postcards for $1 that people can buy to donate as well. (Who doesn't have ONE dolla?)

That's it for today, I look forward to getting back to Skunk assemblage during nap two today!

Here is the website http://www.albinoskunk.com and a Poster for the Skunk Fest if anyone is interested in going, it is a blast you can camp all weekend, I've been going for 8 yrs. (Missing this year due to impending due date!!!) GO team Skyla! Yeah!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pics need some TLC


I just had the best shower ever when my little man went down for his nap, and I am running on my first 8hr sleep in weeks. Think I'll take this recoup a little further and not do the laundry or vaccumm. It's not that bad, I just vaccummed three days ago. (and we were gone one of those days!)

My new stance on improving sales on my etsy site is that I need to get some new pictures up for my items. I have yet to locate my camera cord, so I am going to go buy one today. (It will of course, turn up as soon as I open the packaging and toss my reciept!)

So I'll keep this brief and post a few pics of the items I need to recapture to make them oh so catchy. I also cannot wait to take a picture of the new tree wall decal I bought from BubbaandDoodle on etsy for my son's room. It is fantastic! I have a new obsession with Vinyl wall decals, they are all over etsy and I like BubbaandDoodle the best! You can spend days looking at decals, they are great for renters, wall art with no paint, easily removable when you leave!

Friday, August 7, 2009

All play and no work!

I haven't gotten anything done, because I went to Atlanta to visit a friend and to go to a VBAC talk with Henci Goer, author of the "Thinking Woman's Guide to Giving Birth"
(try said freind's blog if you are into celiac/gluten free diets or even just want to find some natural foods coupons. http://glutenfreecolleen.blogspot.com )

Well, I did do SOME work, but not the clocked in at the sewing machine kind. I dragged out all of my reciepts (some were found this week during my craft-station reorganization) and balanced my Stars and Robots books. I just had a sale this week, and with that, I am in the black!!! Even though I just bought supplies for my "Skunks for Skyla" line. So even though I am only about 26 dollars in the black, I have inventory out the wazoo, (which is almost like money, right?)
I'll blog more about Skunks for Skyla in the future, please look out for that!

I also left some feedback on etsy, and as you can see, put in a lil time on the blog! I used the drive time to reflect on how I can best divide my time to get the most work done that will translate to sales, meaning profits! I decided I really have to redo some photos on my etsy site, and continue to be active on the etsy boards, facebook, twitter, etc... so people can see me! I feel positive, things are going well. :) Happy babies everyone!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blogger 101

I just read about ten new blogs, and the one thing I've learned: More Pictures, Less words. Enjoy.

Down to Busy-ness! (Also, Don't Sew Tired!)

Allrighty then, for some inspiration I posted a thread on the etsy forums asking for people to share there blogs and look at mine, so I could get some pointers and see how this Crafter/Blogger lifestyle goes. WOW! I got some overwhelming results! I now have an insanely full dashboard to say the least. I will try to refrain from LIVING online(it's so easy) so I will check in with just a few a day. Glad to know I have some peeps.

Yesterday I did get the ball rolling and go to town on some skunk assemblage, clocked in and all. I only got in a few hrs, but that really beats my usual 45 minute stints when baby gets up from naps. I hope my momentum doesn't go completely in the toilet when #2 comes along in November! I'll just try to get alot done before then. Well, I did great with sewing the stripes on the back, I use a really heavy zig zag stitch, and it sounds like a jackhammer! Luckily I have some really nice sound-blocking headphones on my ipod, and that made ALL the difference! Why didn't I think of that before? I really got cruising along listening to what I thought was the Avett Bros, but really different...What is this? Are they singing about my hometown? Yes! Turns out it was a Ryan Adams I had thought I lost, I had never listened to it, and it was mislabeled. He is from my hometown, we actually went to highschool together, but I didn't know him. It was uncanny how he brought to life the Jacksonville experience. (NC not Florida) had to grow up there to relate! So that was a really weird mind trip on the headphones, and I zipped through all 11 skunk stripes in no time. Here's where my lack of sleep kicked in...

I go to attach the ears and sew the body together. It wasn't making sense, I couldn't do the logic and I had done it easily on my proto-skunk. I knew I wasn't doing it the same way but thought I had outsmarted the system. And turn outside out, NOPE! the ears were sewn to the inside! (You have no idea how hard it is to rip out matching thread from canvas! BLINDING!) So I rip it out, reverse, resew, and "Viola!" they are outside now, but upside down! I decided that this would be Lincoln's skunk. (My one year old) And I quit immediately, vowing never to sew on no sleep again. It took longer to "fix" the ears than to sew on all the stripes!

The rest of my Craft time was online doing Storque article research on etsy. (Invaluable!) and making new blog friends. I am well rested now and I look forward to getting down to busy-ness during nap 2.

Side note, husband had a good idea, I think I will make some vampire/franken robots for Halloween. Maybe even some stars and skunks. Why not? I only have 40 more skunks to make after I finish this batch, then 100 postcards. I can do it...I can do it...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Less action, tired Mommy! Organizing is the Priority

Well, yesterday was the first day I didn't put my nose to the grindstone and "clock in" some hours on the skunk line. I am very tired, as my one year old got up from 1-4 am the other night, and I am catching up with that now. I did however, go to the post office to mail out my etsy sale, and go grocery shopping. I had to go to the post office twice, because my fool proof system failed me, I usually gather my goodies in a paper bag with a post it stuck and paper clipped to the outside with the address. This has worked great, but I sealed my Priority Mail box and had no Post it, just a clip in the bottom of my bag. Woopsie. I am tempted to grab a lot of PM boxes so I can do the packaging at home, but for some reason have not done that yet. Every order is a different size, and I am afraid of stockpiling.

Speaking of clutter, I think it's time to redo my craft situation. I gave myself the excuse to not work on skunks during nap 1 today because I could not get to them. My husband "helped" me move some stuff to vaccuum and boxed in my sewing corner behind heavy boxes. I could move them myself, but just oh so pregnant. The laptop was back there too, but I finally crawled under the dining room table to snatch it. I am going to clock in as soon as I am done with this blog. The whole point of starting this blog was to have a forum to hold myself accountable and really get some work done. I hope to also inspire anyone else to get to it, and hopefully learn a few things from my mistakes and triumphs!

So as far as work goes, I did actually get alot done on etsy yesterday, I posted an item and facebooked it, did some chatboarding, joined a local etsy group, mailed off my sale, and rearranged my craft supplies. Oh, I also decided to lower my skunk prices to 15 at the Skunk Fest to bring in more purchases after email discussing with all parties involved. Five will go to my friend Skyla. ( I need to make a sign, Skunks for Skyla! )They are still going to be 17 on etsy, I always have lower prices in person. I need to figure out the best way to tell people on etsy that 5 from each skunk will help support a world class athlete. I think I need to make some lists to clear my head, I feel a little muddled in thought and list making is my way to streamline my priorities. Blah Blah Blog, Blondie rocks in the background (Heart of Glass, from live concert)Ooooh oooh, Aaaahuh!

Allright then, me and my sleep deprived pregnant brain are going to check out and go clear some skunk making space while nap 2 is still underway....Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Feng Shui and a new sale

Ok, so far I have spent about 6 hours on my assembly line of 11 skunks, and I am feeling like I may be half, or a little over halfway there. This will hopefully add up to about an hour a skunk, and after paying for supplies, I might actually make $10 an hour in labor! Of course, none of the hours I spend online networking and posting, none of the driving to the PO, fabric stores, etc...(the list is endless) will count in this "labor cost." (Yet!) Enough of the math portion of this blog.

I was talking to a friend of mine who does another blog, and we were talking about using Feng Shui to bring in money. We have both done it successfully in the past, working on that back left corner of the house from the front door, adding purple and fresh greenery (live plants) and stopping up all the drains in the house and shutting toilet lids and closing bathroom doors. The usual. So as I was about to hang up after our in depth conversation, up popped an email, "Whoah! I just made a sale!" So my faith in the ancient Chinese Art of Wind Water movement is renewed. I sold three stars to a perfect stranger, awesome.

I have found that the more I blog, and especially, get active commenting and posting on etsy articles and forums, my activity level goes up. It is just nice to see it actually PAYING off.

So if you need money, get some Feng Shui action going on, and if you have money, go buy some stuff on etsy! ( I actually bought a bracelet while I was on the site to check on my order, it's good Karma!)
Enjoy the picture of my little man amongst my Star inventory!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Identity: Craft Superhero in the making

Ok, so I am deciding that the point of this blog is going to be following me on my adventures toward Craft Superheroism. I just started my assembly line of Skunk neck pillows yesterday, and with naps and interuptions, I have been getting in 45 minute bursts. I have devised a way to "clock in" and "clock out" so that I can try again to figure out how to pay myself for my time. I have a friend who is training for the Olympics in Summer 2012, and she is raising funds for going to Nationals. So, I am going to sell the skunks at the Albino Skunk Bluegrass Festival at her booth, where she will get $5 a skunk, I am selling them for $20. I am also going to make some fabric postcards and sell those for a dollar, all proceeds to Skyla (my little fencing champion). I'll throw in some Stars and Robots to the mix as well.

My main craft focus, other than continuing my skunk assemblage, is to find that daggone camera cord! My one year old thinks it is funny to hide things around the house, and he's done an excellent job this time! I'll probably be going off to buy a new one, and find ours as soon as I get home. (That's what happened to my cancelled credit cards after abandoning search)

Look forward to seeing more pictures and a much more pimped out page, I'm getting a little help from some blogging friends on that, but as for now, it is NOT nap time, and Lincoln has a pen heading towards a wall...