That's the handmade pledge from www.buyhandmade.org. I took it yesterday, and as of today, more than 8000 people have taken it as well. The three reasons the site gives for buying hand made are: it makes for better gift giving, it's better for people, and it's better for the environment. For the complete list, click here.
I plan on making most everything I give away as gifts this year. I'm thinking of doing plastic bag holders for the kitchen this year. Natalie bought quite a few presents at the Handmade Detroit Holiday Market. My stepmom has been making gift baskets of handmade bath salts, bath bombs, and chocolate-covered spoons along with crocheting everyone mittens, scarves, or slippers! Making things may be more time consuming, but making things with your friends on craft night is far more rewarding than getting packed into the mall spending tons of money.
All those visitors got me thinking. We get quite a few hits on our website, but not so many buys. Why? I think it's because of the very nature of what we sell. People want to see it in person, to touch it, try it on. Buying things over the internet is tricky because you're never sure that the picture is a totally accurate representation of the product. I strive to take pictures that accurately represent the product, but people won't always know that. I think sizing is another issue too. I definitely need to make some more sizes. Improvement is a very good thing.
The apartment has a lot of character. It's painted olive green and mustard yellow, but not in a tacky way. It has a stamped tin ceiling in the dining room, and stairs to get to the bathroom, just like an old steam room. We also have our own laundry room! And tons and tons of storage for our craft/sewing supplies. You can get the complete tour here at my livejournal. It's going to get so productive around here!
This year’s fair features a VIP shopping night on Friday, Nov. 16, with music by Scarlet Oaks and SSM. This special night of shopping and entertainment is $5 to enter. Get first dibs on the best handmade items, arrive early to pick a special goodie pack and stay late to hear some great local music. 18 and up after 10 p.m. Seniors over 60 and kids 14 and under are free.
Saturday, Nov. 17, features a “traditional” DIY fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All ages! Free to browse, though a one dollar suggested donation is gladly accepted to help Handmade Detroit continue to produce DIY events in and for our city.
It's going to be a really great show, so come check us out support the growing DIY community!
Goals for now: make stuff for and super-turbo promote Always the Forest, find a bunch of piano students and start teaching lessons.
First, remove all spools and bobbins. Oh, unplug it as well, to prevent those finger-sewing accidents! Then wipe the outside of your machine from top to bottom. Open all the parts that you can and brush the lint out of them with the little brush that probably came with your machine. Tweezers are also handy for pulling out those rogue threads. Some people use a can of compressed air to remove the lint, but it's not necessary. If you have an older machine, you need to oil all of the moving parts. While you've got your machine all opened up, look for loose screws. I have one trouble screw that will unscrew itself every so often and it would be quite terrible if it fell out!
If your machine is really gunked up, you may want to tie a few knots in a piece of string, dip it in rubbing alcohol and pull it between the tension discs to clean them. I use this technique on my serger, and it works very well.
Change your needle! Yes, it makes a huge difference! Dull needles lead to skipped stitches, puckered seams, and mad frustration.
Once you get in the habit of cleaning you sewing machine on a regular basis, your sewing will go much more smoothly.
I was browsing through my craft folder today and I came upon this nifty project I had saved from www.thepurlbee.com earlier this year. I think it's such a neat idea! You take some of those lovely swatches of fabric you have laying around and stretch them through embroidery hoops of all sizes. It makes the perfect decoration for a sewing/craft room, but I could definitely see it working in a living room or bedroom. Now I just have to scour garage sales for everyone's unwanted embroidery hoops!
In design/sewing news, Billy will be going to maintenance school for about a week in a few days, so I will be sewing up a storm while he's gone. I've been working on perfecting my new patterns and they're almost done. I think I'm going to have to clean up my sewing room before I begin, it's really messy. And by messy, I mean fabric everywhere! I find that when I have a neat and clean sewing room, the ideas come so much easier.
Last night around midnight, me and Billy finished watching a movie. For some reason, I felt compelled to check my email. I grabbed my macbook and quickly checked for new mail. There, in my inbox, was our very first online order! I was so excited. It was for two Always the Forest Aeronaut tees and one Weekend Bag (pictured). I told Billy right away, and he was super happy. For the past couple of months he would always bug me: "Hey, did you sell anything yet? Did you? Did you?" and finally I did! Then I called up Natalie, who was three hours of time distance away, but I had to tell her the good news even if it was 3am in Michigan. She was also excited, and not asleep, for she is a night owl! Billy said we better send it out right away, because whenever he orders anything online and gets it the next day, his head just about explodes with glee. So I made up a fancy invoice and emailed it to Natalie, and she went to the post office the very next day and sent the goods! So hopefully if all goes right with the postal service, the package should arrive tomorrow. And thus begins our good streak of excellent customer service, hooray!
Now I'm off to finish sewing some more fall/winter stuff.