Flying by the Seat of my Pants

When I started this whole ‘making aprons’ thing, I thought it would go the way of macrame’ plant hangers and photo cards – in other words, I didn’t think it would last! Now approaching apron #2000, I’m still flying by the seat of my pants.
Because I thought I’d get over this (ha!), I didn’t jump in feet first and buy a lot of special equipment. I had a sewing machine, a camera, a few patterns and a computer. That’s all I needed, right?
It wasn’t long before I had to get creative about storing stuff.
*I used an old bookcase for my children’s fabrics

List of needs, recent aprons, fabric for 'next up' (on top), fabric for kids (bottom)

List of needs, recent aprons, fabric for ‘next up’ (on top), fabric for kids (bottom)

*A curtain rod was hung in a corner for kids’ aprons
An early shot of the kids' section - not so roomy now!

An early shot of the kids’ section – not so roomy now!

*Plastic egg crates on sale from Walmart ($1!) gave me some fabric storage under the kids’ aprons
*I had one small closet for aprons and I added plastic storage bins above and below for all manner of stuff – trims, ribbon, scraps, etc.
Your basic crammed closet - plus doorway overflow

Your basic crammed closet – plus doorway overflow

*Command hooks gave me more hanging space (as did a back of the door hanger)

*Clotheslines were strung up in the backyard for photo sessions

*My daughter’s rolling cart became my mobile accessory organizer
*I got a plus size dress form (bought her a big girl bra at Wally World) and named her Gertrude
*My husband made me wooden racks to use when I have overflow
*Baggies became my new best friends!! I use them for everything from patterns, to buttons, clips, D rings and bobbins

*Grandma’s dining room buffet became my mailing station
*Every spare closet in the house has SOME aprons in it! So does my storage room.
*My ‘sweatshop’ has no less than a DOZEN lights to help my failing eyes
*Plastic buckets hold trim scraps (and, yes, they do get used!)
*Rubbermaid tubs hold pounds and pounds of scraps (for patchwork aprons, scrap projects and quilts as time permits)
*Patterns have been traced onto Dollar Store paper in every size. Keeping them organized is an ongoing battle and fodder for many UFFDA days!
*Color coded storage units hold trims and thread (and the overflow spills out from there!)

I love seeing people that have ‘inspiring’ and organized work spaces – maybe someday. Until then, I’m still FLYING BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS!


Sockaholic Christmas

I’m a sockaholic – I admit it!
I love socks and always get a little sad when one of my favs bites the dust!
That’s what happened this morning but then, inspiration struck! My favorite place (Pinterest) is always showing cute ways to make things from sweaters, so why not socks?!
The pair that had sprung huge holes in the heels was a sparkly holiday motif, so I thought it would make a great little gift bag. Simply sew a line between the good part and bad part, cut off the unusable portion, turn it right side out and Voila!

You have a cute little (stretchy) bag that is perfect for small treasures!

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Over the years, I’ve accumulated more Christmas STUFF than I know what to do with! Getting it out each year to decorate is definitely a love/hate exercise. HATE dragging out all the boxes, testing the lights, and then cleaning up the mess, but LOVE strolling down memory lane and each thing I uncover brings back the ghosts of Christmas(es) past!
There was the year I made (I don’t know HOW MANY) little shelf angels. Each one had a name – I still have Glory Bea, Margaret and Lulu.

Glory Bea, Margaret and Lulu - the halos have slipped a bit and the hair's a little wild, but they're still cuties!

Glory Bea, Margaret and Lulu – the halos have slipped a bit and the hair’s a little wild, but they’re still cuties!

For many years, I collected Christmas musicals – I had over 75 at one point – I even took to making them when I couldn’t find what I wanted. Then, the munchkins reached shelf level and I had to turn to the soft toy-like musicals so they could play with them without me hovering around!

In the early days of the plush musicals, I had a Christmas pig that oinked Jingle Bells – he’s pretty tired these days, although I still have him. My special favorite is the muffler-clad duck who quacks a medley of tunes. Just when you think he’s done, he launches into another chorus – he’s VERY enthusiastic. In fact, he’s prone to giving you a random quack when you least expect it – sometimes even in the summer from his box in the storage room – lol! You’d think the poor thing had Tourette’s Syndrome, but he really just loves to sing!

With Chilly Willy, the sledding penguin.

With Chilly Willy, the sledding penguin.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Boy, there’s a song that will run through your head driving you NUTS! But it is inspirational.

Tying the itty bitty packages can be a little challenging . . .

Tying the itty bitty packages can be a little challenging . . .

My daughter, who helps me with my Pinterest boards, added a new board recently with ideas for gifts and wrapping. She named it ‘Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String.’ I’ve been having a lot of fun with that one – finding fun stuff for gifts and wonderful, clever ideas for wrapping. But, oh, that song!
Then, I saw a fun idea for an Advent/Countdown to Christmas wreath that used – you guessed it – brown paper packages tied up with string!
My grandsons were already in full Christmas spirit – they put up their tree in mid-November!!! I figured they would drive their mom crazy by the time Christmas finally arrived, so I decided to try the idea I’d seen. Since they live far away, I found the packages, wrapped them and sent them off. They’ll have to decide how to hang them. The original idea of a wreath was great, but I think you could hang them on the tree or put them in a basket or hang them on a towel bar . . .
I had to get my rear in gear to get those gifts off so I didn’t miss the start of the countdown (Dec.1), but I had a little more time for my local grandkids AND I could go ahead and attach them to a wreath (I just got one at Michael’s on sale).
For both families, I decided to include parents as well as kids in the gift selection – I think it helps a little to teach patience and sharing. I also had to do a little thinking about the lineup – mixing kid gifts with adult gifts. There were ornaments included in each set. They had to be on the early days so they could go on the tree. Gloves and socks made great little packages – they could be rolled up tight and didn’t weigh much (I made a couple of errors in judgment on weight – a bag of marbles might have pulled the wreath right off the wall, lol!). Some of the packages were pretty cool stuff – a Frozen bracelet, a purse flashlight, an apron (of course), while others were pretty simple – hair accessories, flavored lip balm – even character bandaids! The trickiest part was finding the little, lightweight stuff.
Lessons learned: No heavy objects and the smaller, the better. Also, use lightweight craft paper. I had only the heavy-duty package paper – tying it with string was not enough and regular tape didn’t hold, so I had to use packing tape, too.
Each package had a number and a name (in this case initials).

Each package had a number and a name (in this case initials).

All in all, it was a fun project and, I think, a better way to give some of those little items that are fun, but get lost in the madness if you wait until Christmas!

Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Small Business Saturday-Cyber Monday

THANKSGIVING is Thursday and just one of the many things I’m thankful for is the success of my little apron business!
BLACK FRIDAY follows and, for those of us in business, that means sales!
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY is a day to buy from small, local businesses and support their efforts (pick me! pick me!).
Sunday will be my family day and, hopefully, a day of rest.
CYBER MONDAY is supposedly the biggest Internet sales day of the year.
Am I ready for all of this? I hope so!
FREESHIP coupon code lock

If you’re out shopping, I hope you find great deals. If you’re IN shopping, I hope you stop by and look at some aprons! Use the coupon code shown above when you check out to get your free shipping: FREESHIP
*Good on domestic orders over $25

Cyber Shopping 101 Level!

Ten years ago I wouldn’t have known what ‘cyber shopping’ was! Now, I have to negotiate the perils of cyber shopping from a shop owners’ perspective. It’s that old dog/new tricks thing again . . .
With the speed of a 3-toed sloth, I’m beginning to learn the ins and outs of the program. Mostly, it’s getting the word out (if I just knew how to do that). So, here goes: here’s a little info and some samples from my ETSY shop. I hope if you’re shopping for your holiday gifts, you’ll consider aprons – fun, functional and FABULOUS!!

Here’s how to get there and see more!