So I didn’t get around to making the two summer dresses I wanted to while I was on my PNW vacation. Who am I kidding? I should know it’s not really a “vacation” when I go there. It’s more like a workcation, where I’m working on my client work and hanging out with friends and family in my off hours.
But I couldn’t let this awesome fabric just sit there! It was screaming to be made into a dress.
When I got back to Brooklyn I decided to stop lying to myself about making the dress. I didn’t have the time or the space. But the dress had to be made!
I remembered a cute boutique in South Slope that offered private lessons in their sewing studio in the back of the shop. At first I thought about going that route, but when I found out that they also do custom work I decided to let the experts handle it. I handed off the fabric and pattern to Patti at Flirt Brooklyn and she whipped up exactly what I wanted. I almost squealed when I saw the dress hanging up in the dressing room for the first fitting. It’s so awesome working with someone who can execute your vision perfectly.
Having the dress made by a pro not only saved me time, I’m sure it saved me a lot of frustration. It also satisfied that constant craving I have to collaborate with others on creative projects that live outside the computer. Plus, I love supporting local small businesses and creatives who are doing fantastic work.
It’s kind of awesome to think that this dress, from concept to completion, was created entirely in the USA:
It’s time for you pull all of those sweaters out of the closet – it’s full on Fall. (Or at least it is here in Brooklyn.) Need some cute accessories to go with all of those cozy colors? You’re in luck. I just posted 6 fall-inspired pieces in the shop. And there seriously are only 6. I’m not going to make any more of these (at least not until Summer 2016). To sweeten the pot you get free shipping through October 31, 2015 (yay, Halloween!).
I really need to go shopping for new clothes, nothing fits. Or at least that’s my excuse for not being able to pull myself off the computer and away from the Modcloth website – I can’t help myself! It’s all too cute. Here are some of of the tops I found, paired with some of the new fall pieces in my shop:
What are you wearing this fall? Feel free to leave a comment or post on myFacebook page.
And don’t forget to signup for my VIP Fan Club – we’re doing giveaways from now till the end of the year that are only available to those on the list.
• Paderno Sprializer(If you have a garden like my mom’s and it’s yielding a million pounds of extra zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes or if you just feel like it’s too hot to cook then you NEED to try this thing. Zucchini and sweet potato noodles are my new favorite.)
It’s freaking hot here in the PacNW… but not as hot as Brooklyn, so I’m not going to complain too much. Instead I’m gonna make this quick before I pack up and head to the beach and Astoria, OR with the fam.
Here’s a little Summer Concert Style Roundup:
Hawthorn Dress by Colette Patterns I swear, when I have more space I am going to set up my sewing machine again and start making everything that Colette Patterns offers. I love pretty much everything they do.
iPhone Case If I had an extra $130 I would go buy this right now. Especially since I use my iphone more like a camera than an actual phone. It includes 4 interchangeable lenses: wide angle, 2x telephoto, 180-degree fisheye and macro (with polarized lenses).
6) Or skip cooking all together and go straight for the chocolate. And you know what’s better than chocolate? Chocolate with beer. Theo has an awesome beer and chocolate pairing kit. Or combine the two with achocolate beer! Yes. Chocolate beer. The world doesn’t seem so bad now.
I have a really bad habit of trying to do everything myself. So asking for help testing my Plush Krampus Pattern and Tutorial was kind of a big deal for me. I was scared it would be a waste of time, that no one would want to do it, that it would be all wrong, that I wouldn’t have time to wait for feedback, etc. I have no idea why I would think these things. I’m pretty sure it was just my brain trying to find an excuse to procrastinate. It’s good at that.
But you know what? I received excellent feedback and it made the pattern at least 10X’s better.
And as an unexpected bonus I met some new amazing business owners. BIG THANKS AND HUGS TO:
• Sewing extraordinaire Addie of AddieK • Alma (brave new sewing adventurer)
• Talented graphic designer Kristin of Blue Beagle Design
• Leigh of The Kitchen Table Revolution (warning – if you visit her site be prepared to drool)
• Miranda (elementary school knowledge dropper and crafty gal)
The story of Alpine Europe’s Krampus tradition was told to me many years ago, by my friend Gretchen, over one of our bacchanalian Thanksgiving dinners (which I pine for every year). Gretchen is a true story teller, you can’t help but be captivated by her travel tales. Her description of Krampus fascinated me. I kept thinking, “Why don’t we have this here?” It kind of worked out perfectly because at that point I had no idea what to do for my yearly Christmas card and Krampus was the perfect idea. I immediately went home, drew him up and printed the 3-color illustration on my Gocco printer.
I made the cards again the next year. People seemed to love him and the idea of Krampus has seemed to spread into pop culture over past few years. I still loved the cards but what I really wanted was to make him 3D, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
Finally, I got my stuffed Krampus idea out of my head and into real life. I loved him. Everyone loved him. Isold him for a below minimum wage price to my newsletter subscribers and friends. And I gave one away in a contest.
But last year I didn’t make plush Krampus even though he was one of my favorite things I’ve made. Why? Well, realistically, I can’t afford to spend time making him. And even if I paid a friend to do the sewing he’s just a little too expensive for my average customer. Some people might argue that I just need to sell him to the right people or market him to the right people. But I have so many other things to work on too. Plus, even though I enjoy the zen like feeling that comes along with hand sewing I don’t want to be making 100s of these every holiday season.
Then I was left with the idea that my stuffed Krampus will never be around again, and that kind of bummed me out. Maybe this sounds a little weird but I really like the idea of stuffed Krampus(es?) out in the world forpeople to enjoy. He’s such a cute addition to mix up with the traditional Christmas decor. (At one point I had 7 of them made in my apartment. They were SO CUTE sitting all together. I really wish I had a photo.)
So what should I do?
Quit making him or charge the price he’s worth? Maybe make him just as a promo item? I tried making a pre-printed fabric version of him, which is pretty cute. But not quite the same.
And then…. Eureka!
One day a friend said he would come over and help me make them if I would show him how. He thought it would be cool to learn how to make a stuffed animal. And then it hit me: I NEED TO MAKE A DIY KRAMPUS. Then people can still enjoy him (maybe even more since they are making it themselves, there’s something magical about watching something transform into 3D) at a price they can afford. And it’s perfect timing because everyone needs some kind of indoor activity to do during November and December.
In the works
So, I started. First, beginning with the template I used for myself and then writing out step by step instructions (which is always harder than I think). Thankfully, I’m already an Illustrator pro, so I don’t have to teach myself a new skill in that area.
But now what?
Should I give it people to test for free at first? Maybe ask newsletter subscribers? Friends?
Where do I sell it? I know Etsy now has a digital download option. But what if I want to sell it from my own site? Is there an automatic download option that’s easy or do I have to manually send it to them?
Who proofs it and how many rounds? Do you hire a professional copy editor? If so, where is the best place to find one?
Are there any copyright things I should put on the pattern? Like, it’s okay to make, but not to sell?
And how the heck do you price something like this?
Whether it’s an all-night work session or just mustering up the energy to fold some laundry, the music is always on in my house. I’ll admit, I’m a little picky. Or should I say discerning? That sounds better. But I’m also laaaaaazzzzzy. I don’t want (or have time) to put in a bunch of hours browsing, researching, and choosing music. I need a curator, a selector. If I could afford it I would seriously hire an in-house DJ.
Late one night my brain started thinking…
The normal flow is:
DJ PLAYS MUSIC –> I AM INSPIRED BY MUSIC TO MAKE OR DO SOMETHING
But what if we flip it?:
I MAKE A PIECE –> DJ IS INSPIRED TO PLAY MUSIC/SONG
I invited Chilly (host of KEXP‘s El Sonido) to play this little game for me (which I’m still trying to think of a name for, so if you have suggestions leave a comment below). I asked him to take a look in my Etsy shop and then pick a piece that would inspire him to play a song. Here’s what he came up with:
So Los Master Plus are more hipsters than charros, but they do rock cowboy hats. This cover of Dr. Dre’s “Next Episode” is, like all their tracks, totally tongue-in-cheek, but it’s also a magnificent slab of cumbiatronica. The bridge is way killer. Oh, and these dudes are from Guadalajara, the city that inspired these cool little magnets.
Chilly is a Latin/global bass DJ based in Seattle, WA. He also hosts a modern Latin radio mixshow on KEXP (90.3FM /http://www.kexp.org) called “El Sonido” every Monday night 6-9pm PST.