Monday, May 14, 2012
My sweet mama loooves her iPad (and in her typical sweet grandma fashion, loves her grandson even more and lets him smudge it up with peanut butter fingerprints), but didn’t love the case she used with it quite as much. She had mentioned that she would really prefer a book-style iPad case that folds open and closed rather than the zip-top pouch case she had. Easy enough!
So I sewed her a book-style iPad case for Mothers Day—I used this tutorial from Made it on Monday to sew up the cover, and it was exactly what I needed. I think it came out pretty darn cute, if I may say so myself!
The elastic around the button keeps it closed when not in use, and elastic tabs on the inside hold the iPad in place. It’s nice and sturdy since it uses a composition notebook cover between the fabric layers, which is exactly the right size:
(My mom wants to make sure you all know that the iPad looks disgusting because she let Forrest play with it right before I took pictures. Shame on Forrest.)
I followed Jill’s instructions and only made a few modifications—obviously, I did the ruffle on my mom’s case differently than the tutorial shows. To do my ruffle, I just cut a big long piece of pink fabric (probably something like 30” long and 4” wide . . . I didn’t measure) and ruffled it along both long sides by sewing a long, loose stitch and gathering until it was the same length as the piece of fabric used for the outer cover. Then I sliced my outer cover piece roughly where I wanted the ruffle to go, and sewed in the ruffle, right sides together, then trimmed down the entire outer piece to make sure it was the correct size.
I also added fusible fleece interfacing to all the fabric pieces, inside and out, so that it would be sturdy and cushy . . . now it has a sturdy build (from the composition notebook cover in the middle), and it’s padded inside and out thanks to the fleece interfacing.
If I were to make it again, I think I might add a pocket to the inner left side to hold little notes or cards or whatever . . . but then again, I don't own an iPad, so I have no idea how useful that would actually be.
If you’re looking for a tutorial to make a case like this, check out Jill’s instructions!
Monday, May 7, 2012
It’s been exactly one year since our last set of family pictures were taken, so I suppose it’s high time we get some more! One of my very favorite people when we lived in Iowa (or, to be honest, one of my favorite people ever) was my friend Erica—her husband was in chiropractic school with Jeff, and she took family pictures for us a few times when we lived there. And I’m in luck, because she and her family just moved out here to Utah, to fill all my friendship/photography needs. Those needs overlap, I suppose.
Here is one of my favorite shots from our family pictures with Erica almost exactly one year ago, right before we left the Midwest:
And for comparison/marking-the-passage-of-the-cruel-hands-of-time purposes, here is one of my favorite shots from our most recent pictures, taken about 2 weeks ago (holy moly, Jeff and Forrest look exactly the same. Did I contribute a single gene to the making of this child?):
Look how much bigger that goobnugget is now! And strained smile much, Jeffry? It will probably be obvious as you look at these pictures that soooomeoooone is not a big fan of picture day. Take note: the dearly beloved blankie made its way into our family photos. I think it’s trying to take my spot in the family. [Barely related tangent: that blankie doesn’t get washed often, since Forrest generally melts down into a screaming pile of wretched baby tantrum every time I try to put it in the laundry. But it has gotten so disgusting lately—he blows his nose on it; I think I could have cracked that blanket in half, it was that crusty—that I had to stick it in the washer this weekend, despite his loud loud very loud protests. He tried valiantly to snatch it back out, and spent the whole wash/dry time crying in front of the washing machine. The tender reunion when it emerged from the dryer was truly heartwarming. We should have recorded it—he’d be a youtube sensation!]
And while I’m at it, why don’t I just toss in dozens of photos that you’ll probably scroll past at top speed? Because, let’s be honest, unless you’re looking at pictures of your own family, you don’t really care, right? Humor me. Thanks.
I truly cannot figure out how we ended up with so many photos of Forrest smiling. Because here’s how I remember it: we drove an hour to get to Erica’s house (while Forrest cried). We had dinner with Erica and family (while Forrest whined). The kids played (and Forrest whined). We headed outside for pictures (and Forrest cried). We began taking pictures (naturally, Forrest whined). A brief, 5-minute long stint of happiness when a neighbor’s dog tried to invade our family pictures (Forrest tried to climb on its back for a ride, simultaneously thrilled and terrified—equal mix of high-pitched laughter/squealing and whining). Pictures continued (endless whining, from both Forrest and Jeffry). I don’t know how she did it, but she successfully made it look like I have a constantly blissfully happy child. Such beautiful lies!
I would like to add that I love how Forrest’s belly is poking out of his shirt in half the pictures. I think his little tummy is so cute, but I suppose this really means he needs some new, bigger shirts. Or that we should all go with the exposed round-squishy-tummy look for next year’s photos.
Lies, lies, lies. How it really went down . . .
Erica: (posing us) “Jeff, just pretend you’re whispering sweet nothings in her ear.”
Jeff: “What? Sweet nothings? What do I say? What does that mean? What am I whispering? What’s happening?”
Erica: “Just pretend you’re having a romantic moment.”
Jeff: “We don’t have those. I don’t know what they look like. Let’s do something else. Let’s swing Forrest around again.”
Erica: “Okay, then just pretend you’re smelling her hair.”
Jeff: “Why would I smell her hair? I wouldn’t smell her hair.”
Erica: “JUST STICK YOUR FACE ON HER HEAD.”
Jeff: (whispering, pictured above) “Are we done yet? I hate this. Let’s go home.”
Which is why you should never trust anything you see on the internet, or framed in someone’s house.
(And, since I had a handful of questions when I put these on my facebook page, my shirt is from Vanity (the belt came with it—it’s on clearance here), and my jeans are the ones I turned from bootcut into skinnies (posted here). I have no idea where any of Jeff’s clothes came from (besides the obvious answer of ‘closet floor.’ ) Forrest’s getup is from TJ Maxx.)
[If you’re in or near Tooele, Utah and want some smashing photos taken, definitely visit Erica. We’re big fans. I’m not getting paid to write this or anything—she’s just really my friend and really does a great job. She took my maternity pictures and both sets of our family pictures, and some of my biggest regrets in life are not having her take our wedding photos (too bad I met her 3 years too late for that occasion) and Forrest’s newborn pictures. I kept thinking I’d do those myself, and 20 months later, I think I may have missed my window of opportunity. Too late to do the nakey-and-sleeping-curled-up-in-a-basket-wearing-an-owl-hat shot. Shucks. Visit her facebook page here.]
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I wonder how much longer I can drag out the sharing of little bits and pieces of the Queen Bee Market? It’s already been . . . what . . . two weeks? And I’m still posting about it. And you’ve probably read like 50,000 posts about it (and Snap) from everyothercraftblogontheinterwebs. But I am nothing if not a shameless follower, so beat the dead horse I shall!
I thought I’d show some pictures of my booth from the market. I underwent a period of deep, excruciating, procrastination-ridden stress over my booth design. Here was my cyclical, stuck-on-repeat thought process:
“An amazing booth will draw in customers. All the other vendors who do craft fairs, like, for realsies and not just for hobbiesies/funsies, are going to have amazing booths. I’ll look pathetic next to them if my booth isn’t also amazing.”
“Hold up. An amazing booth requires money and skill, two things I am lacking. And any money spent on the booth reduces the amount of money I take home from the market. Never mind, I’ll just have a crappy booth.”
Rinse and repeat. I didn’t want to spend much on the booth setup, since that would have to come out of my profits, but I didn’t want to be embarrassed of a shabby (not in the cool way) booth.
So this is what I ended up with. I thought it was pretty darn cute, but I’ll admit that it was quite overshadowed by some other vendors’ spots who clearly do these events often and have really invested in great furniture to use, backdrops, fancy shmancy signs, vintage-y accessories, etc. But you know what? Mine looked good. I thought it was attractive and neat and welcoming and displayed my items well, and it ended up being really cheap to pull together, which meant that almost every penny I made at the market was pure profit. I borrowed almost every piece of the booth—from the awesome black backdrop to the tables and even the display dishes and baskets--from kindly family and neighbors.
The most expensive piece of the booth, by far, was the stupid freaking sign. Like an idiot, I waited until two days before the market to order my sign. If I had bought it online with plenty of time for it to be printed and shipped, it would have cost something like $20-30. But I was so busy stocking up, plus so indecisive about the setup and look I wanted for the booth that I realized in a panic 2 days before the market that I had no sign. I had to have it printed at Office Max the day before the market began, and it rang up to $75 (it was a 4x2 foot vinyl banner). Ouch. It kills me that I didn’t just plan this ahead of time and save $50. The silver lining I’m hanging onto with a vicious grip of death is that I’m planning to hang my overpriced (yet fantastic-looking!) sign in the craft room I don’t yet have. In the house I don’t yet have. Won’t that be cool?
One of my big concerns for the booth was height. I can’t imagine that dozens of hats just plunked flat on a table makes for a very visually appealing shopping experience. I wanted to figure out a way to create some height and depth in my booth so my items weren’t just lying there, all sad and droopy-looking on a table. A sweet neighbor let me borrow cake platters and dessert stands (like the three staggered plate stands on the right in the picture above) which were perfect for adding a little dimension and height to the booth. Styrofoam heads ($5 each at Hobby Lobby) were another great way to lift a few items higher up off the table as well as show how they might like on you. If you are blue or green, hairless, and bodyless.
My favorite display touch was the clotheslines . . . I just brought some scrap yarn and clothespins, and used duct tape to fasten the ends of the yarn to the back of the backdrop. It was a great way to, again, add some height, as well as feature some smaller items that might have gone unnoticed on the table. And it cost something like $2 for a gigantic package of clothespins at Walmart, so it was a really inexpensive way to add some personality and height to the display.
Another dessert stand and bowl (borrowed from a neighbor) added some height to a cute side table (my mom’s) and made it easier to organize some of the goods.
I thought this was kind of nifty . . . a neighbor let me borrow this metal tree (I believe she said it was from Rod Works), which was the perfect way to showcase dozens of little headbands. (Thank goodness for a church facebook page on which I could plead for display item donations . . . all these kind ladies came to my rescue with dishes and trees and baskets and platters and on and on . . . saved me so much money and stress!)
I had a few 8x10s printed of my items being worn . . . hats and headbands look okay just lying around, but they look 1000% better on a person. Especially if that person is an adorable chubby baby. So I had some cheap prints made at Walgreens, then just taped them to the backdrop. I think this actually made a big difference . . . I noticed quite a few people strolling by my booth without hardly slowing down, then noticing my big adorable baby photos and stopping to take a look. I even caught a few people snapping pictures of my pictures on their cell phones, so I think they were a great way to slow people down and catch their attention. Plus, it added some color and interest to the rather boring black background, which was nice.
My final booth technique, if we can call it that, was to make sure I wore something I was selling both days . . . even as I was wandering around doing shopping of my own, I had a few people ask where I’d bought my cute hat or headband, and I was more than happy to inform them where they could find one just like it. I wore one of my slouchy berets the first day (pictured above, and available here) and a big flower headband the second day (right here).
If you’re going to take anything away from this craft booth post, let it be this: do it early and do it cheap. I would have definitely saved myself a lot of stress and money if I had ordered that dumb sign earlier, and the whole process would have gone more smoothly if I had planned what I wanted my booth to look like from the beginning. And, personally, I don’t think it’s worth it to spend a lot of money creating an attractive booth. Some booths at the market were very obviously very expensive to put together, and unless you do fairs like this for a living and know you’ll make a killing, I just don’t think it’s wise to spend much for the sake of having a cute spot. Talk to friends and neighbors about borrowing tables and display items . . . it’s just too expensive to go out and get everything yourself to create a booth one time. Not worth it! How sad would it be to spend a fortune on a booth that you don’t make back in sales? Or to walk away with like $15 in profit because you had to have an impressive, pricey booth?
There were so many great vendors there . . . some of my personal favorites were:
Trinkets and Butterflies :: this shop is one of those cases where pictures just don’t do the item justice. Brittany creates the most stunningly beautiful jewelry using real butterfly wings. Real. Butterfly. Wings. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I took home a gorgeous butterfly wing pendant necklace . . . I’m still over the moon excited about it. So lovely.
Cinnamon Sticks :: I could not get over Canela’s amazing jewelry, either . . . it had such a beautiful, simple, rustic charm, but was so incredibly detailed and well-made. You know how some “handmade” jewelry shops are just buying pre-made pieces and putting them together? Well, Canela’s jewelry is all completely handmade . . . as in, she does whatever silversmith-y work is involved in turning a lump of metal into a ring or a bracelet or a necklace. Gorgeous work, gorgeous style. And Canela herself is an absolute delight—I fell a little bit in love with her. Okay, fine, a lotta bit.
Karol’s Handmade Soap :: this booth was a huge hit at the market—everywhere I walked, people were talking about ‘the soap lady’—and for good reason. Her soaps looked and smelled incredible, were beautifully packaged, and made for a great, inexpensive purchase. I already regret not buying some (although I certainly walked by and sniffed her booth often enough) . . . I think they’d make such a great hostess or Mother’s Day gift.