Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trying Something New - Vintage Inspired Clutches

I've been doing a little more designing and experimenting with my shop. Nothing too drastic of course, I'm not a terribly fashion forward kind of gal. In fact I usually joke that I'm "fashion backwards" because my style is so firmly rooted in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Last month one of Randys coworkers asked me to come up with a gift for her 6 bridesmaids. She wanted something using her wedding colours and she wanted each item to be personalized. Oh and I had a really strict budget. Panic! I had no idea what I was going to do. I took a day to think about it and came up with the perfect idea that night while I was falling asleep - which is incidentally the time when I do my best designing.

The next morning I got up & excitedly emailed my idea to her - 6 simple clutches done up in navy blue with blush pink lining, each with it's own special button. She loved the idea and I started drafting a few different patterns to find the best shape. I also got hooked on clutches and have now made 10 of them, these little purses are addictive!

The final clutch design, one of the bridesmaid gifts.

These are my first two patterns. I love how both of them turned out and am really pleased to be able to offer some new bags to my shop. I've got a few more to be listed in the next few days, including solid coloured bags for those of you who aren't as pattern obsessed as I am!

Yoko Japanese Fabric Clutch

Ida Vintage Barkcloth Clutch

Monday, August 09, 2010

Learning to Live with my Fears

Stuff No One Told Me #22 By Alex Noriega

When I first saw this drawing by Alex Noriega I probably said something like Holy Shit! It couldn't have been more perfect if he had drawn it just for me. It looks like me, I drink tea alllll day and I am pushing myself out of a deep anxiety rut.

A few yeas ago I went to see a new age therapist while I was working through some childhood issues. It wasn't anxiety based but we did touch on it, since it's such a large part of my life. Agoraphobia is like a scar. You can definitely get better and function normally but there's always a part of your brain that won't forget.. especially if you keep picking at it.

I remember one session she had me sit on the floor with my shoes off and draw on a huge pad of paper with those fat Crayola markers. She would tell me to draw abstract things like where I see myself in 5 years or what would be inside a gift box that I gave to myself. I think I gave myself a ball of glowing light that would give me energy. (I should have given myself a car or a mortgage-free house.)

Most of the things she asked me to draw were simple and didn't require too much thought, until she asked me to draw my anxiety. I remember just sitting there looking at the ceiling trying to visualize what my panic disorder would look like if I could get it down on paper. It was huge, looming, scary. Evil.

I took the purple marker and drew a big giant blob the size of the paper, with a messy, jagged edge. I added horns, to make it more evil. My therapist was asking me about it while I was drawing it and I remember saying that it was just a really, really, big menacing monster. After looking at it for a while I decided to draw on eyes and a mouth, to give it a face. This ended up making me laugh instead of scaring me. My anxiety was adorable! He had googley eyes and a little grin, like he was in on the joke with me. I added little stick arms and legs and that was that. I couldn't believe I had been so afraid of this guy. He was a big scary monster sure, but he was easy to tame.

After that things actually did get easier. When I felt the shadow of panic creeping over me I would picture the monster behind me, tapping me on the shoulder and running away. It still sucked (and sucks) but it would at least make me smile for a moment when I thought I would go out of my mind with panic.

He's been coming back to bother me lately, but instead of worrying about him I think I'll just offer him some tea. I don't think he's going anywhere so we might as well get reacquainted.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

DIY Hang Tags (on a budget!)

I have been brainstorming ideas for making professional looking hang tags to use locally during the upcoming craft show season. Up until now I had been using a business card with a regular hole punch, but the cards are big and get in the way and it just seemed a bit too amateur. Using items I already had, a little graphic design work & elbow grease I was able to come up with a classy hang tag that I think looks pretty sweet!

You will need two craft punches for making your hang tags. I used the "Extra Jumbo Marvy" 1.5" scalloped circle for the tag and a quarter sized hole punch for the string. Both were purchased from Michaels using the weekly 50% off coupons. These go on sale all the time too - don't pay full price for them! You can use whatever shape or size you like as long as it is no bigger than 1.75" wide and 2" tall.

Here's where the graphic design comes in. I used Vista Print and waited for a premium business card sale with free uploads. Trust me, if you sign up for their mailing list you won't have to wait very long! I get multiple free offers from them every week.

I used the "design your own business card" option, uploaded the background image from my blog and laid out the text boxes so I had two identical graphics on each side of the card. You will need to play around with this a bit - and it helps to have a business card in front of you with the holes punched out so you will have an idea where your borders will be. I was a bit worried that my 6 pt font would be too small to read but it turned out beautifully.

Of course you can use any printing company that you like but you can't go wrong with 250 cards for free + $10 shipping. That's 500 hang tags! Just be careful during your check out that you don't select any of their optional add ons. It ends up being cheaper to wait and order more items from their next promotional email.

And then the elbow grease. This is the least fun part of making your own hang tags but it's also kind of satisfying. I removed the plastic bottom from my Marvy stamp at first so I could make sure I was punching each card in the correct spot. After a while I was able to tell just by looking at the side of the stamp if the card was lined up in the correct spot.

Once my cards were stamped out I used my mini hole punch on them. A regular sized punch would work too but the smaller size looks cleaner to me.

Finally, I used embroidery floss to hang the tags from my purses. Floss comes in hundreds of colors so you can pick out the perfect shade to compliment your hang tags or your items.

I'm still not sure yet if I'm going to attach them to the inside of my purses with little safety pins or if I should just loop them around the buttons and snaps of my items. What do you think?

I'd love to see your tags if you try this method - if you already use the method - or if you purchase premade tags!