Making custom orders is one of my favorite parts of running my business. Being able to deliver something that is *exactly* what my customer wants makes me so very happy! That said, I'm adopting a new policy through the end of this year as my schedule ramps up to save my sanity and be able to keep doing what I do come January.
If there is a product that I already sell in my shop or that you've seen at an in-person event, I am more than happy to make it in a special fabric or even in a different size (within reason).
Say you like my waterproof zippered pouch, but it's just not quite long enough to fit your makeup brushes--I can make you a longer one (additional cost may apply). That's not a problem.
If you adore my grocery bags but want to see one in a horse print fabric, I will do my best to find something you like. That's not a problem.
If you see my tic tac toe game and would *really* like me to make your child a checkers game for Christmas--THAT would be a problem. Designing something I have never made before is incredibly time consuming, and I just can't manage that for the foreseeable future.
Solving the puzzle of designing a new product is something I truly enjoy, but I just don't have the bandwidth to handle those kinds of projects over the next 4 months. I'm a one woman show with an intern who works for me from time to time, two smallish children at home to take care of, and an upcoming holiday season with twice as many events scheduled as last year.
In order to save my sanity and still get some sleep, not to mention take care of my own holiday gifting plans, I need to say "NO" if you ask me to make something that is not already a product for me. Hold onto that idea and please ask me again in January!
There are two or three new products I hope to introduce soon, but those have been in the design process for months already.
If you have spoken to me about something before today, no worries, those projects are already in-progress to varying degrees. Still have questions? Email me karenkatin[at]yahoo[dot]com or send me a message through Facebook. It's going to be a great fall season!
After several craft fairs and being at the farmer's market this summer, I went through quite a few paper signs for my products. After recycling the last set, I thought I could do better by making something reusable.
Noodling around Pinterest usually gives me some great inspiration. I'm not one of those "pin now for later" types. If I pin it, I'm probably trying something out within the week. If not, then it serves as inspiration for something else that I'm working on. I actually scroll through my Recipes to Try board and cook things from it. Crazy, I know.
Pinterest led me to reusable chalkboard signs. Perfect! Being able to erase and re-write as often as I liked was just what this minimize-waste person wanted. The local craft stores weren't coming up with the sizes and price that I had in mind, so I did what I usually do and thought--I can make it myself for way less. Here are some of the steps involved, which are not difficult in the least if you have chalkboard paint and some blue painter's tape.
Start with wooden signs that are inexpensive (less than $1 each) that already have pretty rounded corners.
Paint the perimeter white, whatever size "frame" you want for your chalkboard. You can be messy in the center because the thick chalkboard paint will cover it up.
Measure and tape off the area you would like to be the chalkboard surface. If you press firmly with the tape, you will get a nice crisp edge when you are finished. I had this jar of chalkboard paint on hand, which was a bonus not to have to buy another supply.
Paint with your chalkboard paint. I found 2 coats covered well.
When everything is dry, remove the tape and you are almost done. "Prime" the surface with regular chalk, rubbing in all directions (I don't have a photo of this step). You should be all set to go! Unless...
...you decide to make things less tamper-proof like I did and use a chalk marker on your homemade chalkboards.
It doesn't come off!!!!! This sign has been *erased.* Grrrrrrrr. As if wasting all that work wasn't bad enough (regular chalk DOES come off, so you're fine if you stick with that), two days after finishing these signs, I found this at AC Moore:
Real slate chalkboards. Bigger than the ones I made myself. A better size for my booth setup. For $1 each. I bought 5 for less than the raw materials I used to make the first version. Moral of the story? Don't trust everything you read on the package of a craft supply. Old fashioned materials (slate, plain chalk) are often much better than their new-fangled counterparts (chalk pen). At least now I can stop recycling paper signs!
Summer has been much fuller than I anticipated, but all in very good ways. Blogging, not yet having found a rhythm in my work schedule, kept getting brushed aside for other tasks. I thought I would check in and show some of what I'm sewing right now. This is only a portion of what is on my to-do list! Though it's only mid-August, I already have holiday plans well underway. There will be a couple of new products coming soon, just in time for great gift ideas. If you want the latest and greatest, "like" me on Facebook and sign up for my email newsletter where I share show dates, new products, and all the uses you may not have thought of for my reusable bags.
The stack of fabric shown above is destined to become grocery bags.
Knitting project bags will be more plentiful in my shop and at shows other than fiber festivals.
A messenger-style book bag in the works.
Something to *maybe* organize the car.
A dress for myself--those darts nearly did me in. I actually found myself thinking--maybe a $15 dress from Old Navy is not such a bad thing after all. Then I snapped out of it once I tried it on and found how well it fit. Still needs a hem, but I'm so glad that I stuck with it!
An idea. It only exists on a sticky note so far.
Another idea. Maybe in time for the Harvest Fair in October. It's beyond sticky note and in pattern playing stage. The playing part takes a LOT of time, so it will be interesting to see if this happens this fall or not until next year.
Ready for crayon rolls! How could I not take advantage of back to school sales? The cashiers all thought I was crazy, though I tried to *just* buy 20 packs at a time.
Booth design idea for my upcoming shows. I'm always thinking reusable and sustainable, even in my booth hardware.
Another booth improvement--reusable chalkboard signs. I plan to share a short "how-to" soon here in this space. After recycling many paper signs, this reusable option that uses no plastic tape (not sure how much of that I went through in the past year), also has the bonus of unifying my overall look. After last week's farmer's market test-run, I have to say I really like the upgrade!
I'm still making custom orders. These shoes are part of a larger order going out tomorrow.
Last, but not least, I've been working on a complete studio overhaul and reorganization. This is not something I can do in a day, but am tackling corners of the room when I have a couple of hours here and there. The must-do-something-with-pile keeps getting larger, but the completed corners are wonderful to work in now. I plan to have a studio tour here on the blog when it's finished.
I can't bear to sign off with a picture of something that gives me a headache, so I'll leave you with this one. One of the lovely views I am privileged to have this summer while working at the Aquidneck Growers Market. It has been a wonderful summer, and I look forward to all that the fall has to offer!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.