June 24, 2019

Something for ME - how I made a wet bag

We have had swim lessons every week this summer. It has been a lot of fun! However, it's been a headache for me to get the kids there, swim, then change all three after class.

The idea here is that if they are changed into normal clothes they are more comfy on the ride home, they aren't cold, and they are less likely to whine and beg to get back in the water. The hard part is that the swim suits are super wet when we get changed and I was tired of getting my bags all nasty.

I went online and started looking for a wet bag.  The ones that I wanted were quite expensive. So instead I did some research. (Probably could've done more.. more on that later) I found fabric that could work - laminated cotton, oilcloth, or ripstop vinyl.  I decided to use oilcloth.

There wasn't a lot of choices at my local fabric shop that didn't look like a picnic table. I found this cute gold dot fabric that I've used before. I wanted a large bag b/c when we all go swimming I'll need room for shoes and swim suits.  I also loved the idea of a mesh pocket.

I started with 4 pieces of oil cloth that were about 20x36 inches. (I changed a bit as I went along.) I added the mesh pocket w/ zip to one of the pieces. I then added straps to that piece and another making these the outer layers.

I then made a zip pouch that was really large!! It was pretty simple except for the actual making of the bag. I broke 2 needles because I didn't have the right needle (need a denim.. see - I needed more research). 

I finally got it all done and I am LOVING it. We used it after swim class and the kids loved that we had a place to put their clothes. It was a lot of fun to have them excited as well. The bag is a lot larger than what I found online. It was also cheaper for me to make it than buy it. That doesn't always happen. It was a pleasant surprise.

UPDATE: We are potty training our baby. This is a life saver when out and about. I put some spare underwear in the mesh and the wet in the other. 

June 10, 2019

Online Shop

I am so very excited to announce that I will be opening my very own shop - not on Etsy.  I know that it will take a lot for people to find me, but I am willing to try.

It's taken me 6 months of trial and error to find a shop site that I like, a way for others to pay that I like and would use myself, and a way to host it.  The last one was a bust - I'm still working on that part. I have had a few people look at my site and I have written and rewritten a lot of it.  There comes a time when you just need to go for it.

So for my birthday I have decided to do just that. Take the leap and hold my breath because I am totally scared.

So without further ado...

Click the shop button on the right side of this blog or just click here to go there now and explore.

There are many reason that I have been trying to get my own site. The first is for branding purposes. I want people to remember who I am and what I do. Having my own place is a way to help that happen. I also love at the end of the year that square (the money processing service I use) works on this site as well. They are so nice with looking at everything for taxes.

I also would like to have all of my things in one place. Etsy does work with square and will count in in person purchases. (If not interested... skip this paragraph.)  I did this last year and it was totally worth it until it came to the end of the year. The balances seemed to be all over the place and I was thankful that I took Calculus in college so I could figure out everything I needed. I'd like to avoid that situation if I can this year. I haven't linked my square to my Etsy for just that reason. I have had other purchases, just not on Etsy. What's great with square is that I can use it for cash charges so the math is done for me.

So I love who is running my shop. I also like the layout and look of it a little more than the others I've tried. I have made about 4 different sites and played with them all to get a good feel.  The reason that I am using the square.site right now is because it is free for me to use. I can move my own domain over .. but only if I pay them every month for hosting it.  I figure that for awhile I can just float there for free. Those who know my husband know the quote: "Anything free's worth savin' up for."

And as a quick aside: I am keeping this blog. I have been wondering about moving my blog for years. I never felt like it was a great idea or had a very good feeling... it just seemed like something I should do. With years of work and seeing how much I have progressed, not just as a maker but as a writer, I really didn't want to give this body of work up.  I have learned so much in the years I have been blogging. I started as a blogger and I remember the moment I focused my blog on my business and on sewing. I also have focused it into being a real person and when I do have something fun to show I will do that also.

I know that I have grown as a person because when I make these kind of choices I am scared. I love the wonderful creative community that I have found around social media and the kind words I have gotten over the years. I'm just so glad that when I feel like a failure I have so much support from other makers, my friends, and my family. They tell me to just keep going. I will do that and so much more! There is definitely more to come.

May 23, 2019

First Booth of the Year

I am so thankful that I could go and support this great event! I was at the Back the Blue BBQ and it was rainy and a bit chilly and not too many came out to shop. That's okay, I love having a chance to set up my booth and I always love talking to wonderful people.

I've made a few changes to my booth this year. First I made myself a fun new pouch that I carry everywhere. That way I can have my phone and business cards. It seems small, but those are important.

I also bought this cute new ladder shelf.  I changed things around a lot during the day to show off the cute things I make. It was nice to have somewhere to show my custom orders and also hang the tote bags.

I also was fortunate enough to have a fun hanging area for all my standard pillow cases. I loved that people would walk over to have a look. It also kept them from falling onto the wet ground.

The other new thing I did were the tiny chalkboard signs with names and prices. Along with tags on all items.

I loved setting up with my cute daughter and having everything look super cute. I love the wooden crates and added a few more along with baskets for levels.

Right after this photo I realized my tent was a bit crooked and fixed it. I forgot another photo.
The experience was great and I even made a sale. There wasn't a lot of people and it made me excited for my next one. I still don't know when that will be - I should hear back in the near future. Until then, I hope you see something you like and head over to my shop. It always makes my day.

What would you change? What works for you?

May 2, 2019

Two Whole Years!!

I think it's CRAZY that I have now had my business for two years. I guess It's not terrible since I have been blogging for almost seven years!! Wow.   Back then I went by the name "Karla's Crafts" and thought it was pretty clever.  I feel like I have matured a lot since then and just can't believe how much more I now have.

Some of it is technology.  I was on Facebook and had fun there, but I didn't do a lot with my page. I would put up pics and things to my blog, and that's about it. I started finding more of a community on there.  A few years later I got my first cell phone. Yes, I didn't have a cell phone until I was a mommy of two littles. The first thing I put on my phone was Instagram - because Chatbooks (a lifesaver for a busy mommy).  I think I found my niche there - it's easier to talk/think about crafts and sewing with pictures. My sister had been talking about the love of Twitter - so I jumped on there as well.

So what's with all this shameless promotion? I can. Not that it's something that I just can do so I should. It's something that I have realized I need to do for myself. If I don't talk about my products, my social media and get my name out there then no one else will. It's a harsh reality. It's the reality of every single sole proprietor who goes into business. That's probably why I didn't start my business until two years ago.

So my real message is to everyone who has helped me with ideas, helped me with a pattern, let me talk their ear off late at night, those who try out my products when they are in the first stages, those who share or like or comment on my posts, those that read this blog, those that tell me to keep going, those that have come before who inspire me, those that have helped me figure out how to present myself, those who come early and then come late to help me set up and take down at craft fairs, those that love me.  Thank you!

I have to give a special shout out to the most important person in my life - my husband. He was the one that, kind of jokingly, told me that I should start selling my stuff. He makes sure that prices are relevant and always tells me that I'm worth it. He sees what I make and gives me obligatory oohs and aahs. He takes the kids hiking so that I can sew. He tells me to believe in myself because I'm good at what I do. I wouldn't make it far without him. 

So if you've made it this far, congrats! I'm super excited. You should be, too. In honor of this achievement I have a few things to announce. Throughout the week I'll be having some giveaways, prizes, sales, and a special surprise. 

Here's to another amazing year full of crazy ideas, fun projects and wonderful friendships!