Friday, August 29, 2008

What's Your Plan For Labor Day

This morning, I heard on the radio that labor day is for people to kick back and relax. So, I wondered then why it's called "Labor Day"? Aren't people supposed to work hard around the house and yard? So, I went online for some answers and suggestions. One of the article I found listed top 10 Labor Day activities, including beach picnic, backyard party, family BBQ, weekend camping trip, end of summer scenic drive, local parades and festivals, state park day trip, gourmet cookout, fun and game at the park and family outing. OK, those all sound fun. Then in the newsletter I got from This Old House, they listed 15 labor day projects. including build a fire pit, create a backyard pond, build a small deck, remove crabgrass, etc. I guess it's all personal choice. For me, every weenend is 'labor' day, since I spent most of my time gardening, cleaning, crafting. DH knows me very well, so he always dragged me out of the house, go shopping at the nearby mall or eatting at the chinese dim sum place. That's my only chance to relax during weekends. Since DH is out of town this weekend, I probably will work really hard. I just picked some from my long to-do list, and it's already a lot. OK, here they are.
1. paint the master bedroom.
2. paint the old photo frames and make some new art pieces for the living room and dining room.
3. wash the deck and porch, and the vinyl siding.
4. complete the orders of 4 sets of necklace and bracelet.
5. set up the new lightbox and take high quality pictures of my new items for the shop.
6. make more baby gifts and aprons.
7. start making the slipcover for the sectional sofa.
8. paint the 5 white curtain panels for the basement.
9. move some perennials to the new corner bed.

Oh, I do have other partying plans. I invited my best friend over for Sat, maybe we will go shopping together. Pier1 is having huge sales, and last time we were there, DH didn't allow me to spend much time. So, I have to go there again. And I am going to visit my high school best friend and drop off the baby gifts I made for her on Sun. She is actually overdue now, so the baby is coming any minute.

And my friend H just bought her first sewing machine! She is going to learn how to use it this long weekend. Very exciting! I gave her my big sewing book, which has all the basic knowledge and lots of simple projects. I told H that her first project should be making herself a cute pin cushion. Every sewist (we are not sewer!) need at least one of that. So, here is a great tutorial from Paper.String.Cloth.
And then she can make a cover for her new sewing machine, and make some new curtains for her new apartment. This one is from the wonderful Yvonne Eijkenduijn from Yvestown.
I am so excited, cannot wait to teach her more about it. Oh, when searching for sewing tutorials for her, I found this cute draft stopper. Since I bought so many of those fabric squares and had no plan for them, this could be a fun 10 minute project, which can add some color to my guest bedroom. Oh, I am going to have so much fun this weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Am Tired But Happy

I have been really busy recently. Just sent out the last promo package on Mon, and started preparing for the crafts show in Nov. I got several orders from my coworkers and promised a very cute little girl that I am going to make her a beautiful necklace at yesterday's party. One of the order is 'huge', at least to me. I gave AD, the big guy and a happy grandpa, a necklace (phoenix tail knots in dark green/olive green/brown) a couple of weeks ago. He loved it very much, and has been wearing it ever since. In fact he loved it so much, he ordered two matching bracelets with friendship beads for his little 3-yr-old grandson and himself. Then the little boy wanted a matching necklace just like grandpa's. But unfortunately, I ran out of some of those colors. So, he ordered new matching sets in blue. Then his daughter, the little one's mom, got jealous and want a set too. And AD worried about the other daughter found out everyone has matching sets except her, she will be mad. So, at the end, AD put down an order for 4 sets of matching necklace and bracelet. Plus the huge decoration piece he ordered earlier, I will be very busy for a while. Oh, the young guy works in his office saw his bracelet, so he ordered one for himself, similar color, different design with more of those manly beads. All these happened really fast, I still cannot believe it. I always thought jewelry is for girls, so all my previous creations are very girly. I never thought guys will be interested in these type of stuffs. But obviously I was wrong. So, a suggestion to my fellow Etsy sellers, make something for man too, or at least something gender friendly. I just hope this can open up my market and attract more traffic to my little store.

Oh, another thing that makes me so happy is that FabricPlace is having lots of sales. The Fabric Place in Woburn closed their customer order department, so they put all those wonderful designer fabric samples for sale, 50 cents each. What a deal! I went there two nights in a row, but didn't have enough time to dig through the huge piles. I bought almost 50 of those gorgeous squares, don't really have in mind what I am going to do with them, but just have to have them. Now I am busy washing and ironing them, my collection is growing faster and faster. And I am going there again tonight, in fact, I will keep going there until there is no more interesting ones any more. And I bought some notions that I really need, with 20% off! See, I am a happy happy girl!

And I started tackle my several boxes of scrap fabrics. I made some very simple pin cushion the other night. They are simple, but very unique, because I sewed button knots at each corner as decoration, and used another button knot in the center instead of regular button. I think they are very cute, and I love one of the fabric so much, I am going to keep it for myself, even though I have two big pin cushions already. This long weekend I am going to make more aprons, coasters, and baby gifts. Cannot wait to cut into those fabulous new fabrics of mine.

I live for the weekends! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ready To Make My Second Lightbox

I made a simple 'lightbox' with a old box and some gift wrapping tissue. (See the 'DIY Macro Photo Studio' below for instructions). It was ok for a while, but I kept poking through that thin paper, and the box I used was way too small. Now I found another great tutorial. I bought the shop lights/clamp lights from Lowe's last night, and they are only $5.95 each. Very affordable! And I got the GE Reveal light bulbs from Target, $2.14 for 4. Not bad at all. Now I just need to go get some of those foam board from ACMoore, and I will be ready to go. I made lots of new items recently, but struggled to take some decent pictures. This weekend I will give the new light box a try. Good thing about this new one is I can cut an opening on the top and take pic from there too. Just hope my hands won't shake that much, since there will be no way to use the tripod there.

But this is not the only way to make it. There are lots of very smart people out there. Here are some other tutorials I found, see which one you like better and try it. Good luck!

This one is built with PVC pipes and some fabric.
This 'DIY Macro Photo Studio' is made of a box and some paper.
And this one from the Switchboards is wonderful too. It's written by Lindsay Landis, from Pattern & Paw. She used the regular frosted plastic Rubbermaid container! And what great about this tutorial is she actually giving away all her secrets, how to work your camera, and how to use PhotoShop! Wonderful tutorial!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Etsy Find Of The Week - PromosInASnap

These days I have been busy making promo items. Forgot if I ever mentioned this, on Etsy, we try to help each other out by accepting promos from other sellers, and put everything in the goodie bags. So, our customers at the crafts fairs, who get the free goodie bags, will enjoy cute little promos from different Etsy shops. This is a great cross advertisement. I sent out two sets of promos already, still have two more to go. So, when I was designing and making my promos, I went online for inspirations. Surprised? You don't google for inspirations? Liar! :) Anyway, I found this great Etsy shop, called PromosInASnap. Actually I found her on Flickr first, then went to check out her store. She makes all kinds of great promo stuffs, from stickers to buttons and mirrors, from business cards to customized notepads and lots of other product labels. I am thinking about getting some stickers from her once I am done with my logo design.Her promos are so professional, they made me thinking more about mine. The first set I made was the post-it cover thing, with pictures of my items. It's cute and colorful, but the problem is people probably will throw it away once they are done with the post-in notes inside. I want to give people something they like and will keep for a while, and has my signature designs. That is why I chose my button knot earrings. If they like them and wear them, their friends and family will be interested. It will attract more traffic that way. I have lots of scrap cords from making other necklace or decoration pieces, and they are perfect for the button knots. And I am going to use all sterling silver and 14k gold findings for my shops, so I have to find a way to use up all my gold or silver plated findings. Even though these earrings are little bit time consuming than printing out a bunch of stickers, they are the easiest to make and I can do it while watching TV. The second set of promos I sent out was these button knot earrings, and my business cards. Then I had this light bulb suddenly turning on moment. You know what I mean. PromosInASnap put the promo items in plastic bags with product tags, very professional. I haven't really decided on my logo, so no product tags for now. So, I just stapled my business card to the little zip plastic bags, and I think it's close enough. And this way, my promo earrings and business card won't be separated in the goodie bags. I will show you the pictures of my newest set, I think they look great!

And here is PromosInASnap's studio! It is so clean and well organized, and love the color she used. Wish I had a studio like hers. But I am grateful and happy in my newly organized basement crafting zone. It's much bigger than a couple of TV trays and the dining table, and I can make huge mess and don't have to worry about friends stopping by unannounced and see my messy side.

Final Olympic Medal Count:

Friday, August 22, 2008

My New Favorite Craft Room

Found this one on Flickr, then remembered that I read it's blog a while ago. Look how organized she is! The first picture is her sorting/shipping area, and what a clever way to use a regular shoe organizer! The woman behind this is Nicole Balch, the owner of Pink Loves Brown and MakeItLovely blog. She designs and sells cards, stationery, and lots of other wonderful goodies. And the renovation she and her hubby did to their home is so good, their library was the ‘Reader Before and After’ feature in the September 2008 issue of Home Magazine! Take a look at her new home's before and after, and every steps in between at flickr.

Olympic Medal Count Update:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Origami Flowers

Remember the origami flower tutorials I posted a while ago, I found more.

I found this lotus flower on Flickr. And here is the instruction video.

And here is an instruction of how to make a lotus flower with A4 paper.

And check out these flickr sets from these very creative people. I was totally amazed how beautiful they are. This first set is from amandakay82.

Sherry has a set called Paper Fun. It has lots of great creations, but I cannot download it for whatever reason.

This one is from joostlangeveld's set Origami Flowers.

This is from beatbigearth's set All Paperwork.

And this last one is from Quadradinhos de Papel's ORIGAMI.

Olympic Medal Count Update:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Etsy Find Of The Week

I was look for some unique handmade cards on Etsy, and this one caught my eyes. Check out these from BeCreativeStationery. I like the simplicity of her cards, and the way she display them. Yeah, I know, I am really digging green now, but she has lots of other colors as well, and all the colors she used in her cards or other stationery are very much in harmony. Her designs are so simple and modern, yet very elegant. Replace those boring store-bought thankyou notes with these chic, unique handmade cards, and whoever receive them will know that you put lots of thought into this and will definitely appreciate them much more. And did I mention her price is very affordable for such high quality, handmade cards? So, go check her out.

Olympic Medal Count Update:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have To Share This With You

Yesterday, the fabulous Jessica Jones from How About Orange posted a picture of Ms. Bakerella's orange cupcake pops. (BTW, if you never read my blog before, Jessica's blog is my favorite.) It looked so good, I had to check out the source. Let me tell you, it is super fun. You be the judge. Look at these yummy cupcakes, can you resist that? And Bakerella is kind enough to share some recipes and tricks. I can see lots of kids will have a wonderful birthday party soon. So, all the moms please check out Bakerella.

Olympic Medal Count Update: (OK, uxcritter complained to me yesterday about not posting Canada's medal counts. So, from now on, Canada will be in this short list.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pictures from My White Mountain Trip - Craft Show, and Flume Gorge, part 1

I have been so busy with the house and the garden, didn't have time to process most of the pictures from the trip. These are from the last day, which was the only sunny day we had during that week. We went to the Castlebery craft fair (annual) that Sat morning, and I guess lots of the vendors cancelled due to the bad weather. (But it turned out to be a great sunny day.) So, instead of 100+ vendors, there were only about 30-40 of them. But some of them are truely talented. Here are some pictures from the craft fair.

And I finally got to take some pictures of the Loon Mountain from my balcony before we checked out. The mountain was covered by clouds and rain in all the previous pics. There is a tennis court right under out balcony, so we got some surprise visits from those young kids and their balls several times. To the left, there is the beach volleyball court and kids' play yard. And that tent in the background is where the BBQ and potluck party happened. Yum! Oh, need to focus. Just look at the mountain! What a view! And we got to listen to the nature, the flooded brook next to the building, all the time, and actually saw several chipmunks running around.

And here are some pics from our visit to the Franconia Notch State Park, the Flume Gorge. Words just cannot describe its beauty. Even with the drizzling rain, the tree and water and everything else just make you feel like you are in a fairy tale. If you ever visit NH, you have to stop by the Flume Gorge. I will upload all the pics to my flickr account. Here are just some of the most beautiful ones.
A covered bridge built on top of a fallen tree. See that the horrizontal tree trunk right underneath the bridge? Amazing! And the view from the bridge is stunningly beautiful.

This is the "wolf's den". Very tight squeeze. I had to give DH my backpack and sweater in order to twist, climb and craw myself through that tiny opening between the rocks.

I took tons of pictures of the water in the park. I will show you more once I get them off DH's laptop.

Here are the famous glacial boulders and the amazing trees growing on top of them.

Because of the heavy rain for the past two weeks, ferns and mushrooms are doing great. Here are some cute mushrooms, and I finally figured out what was eating them, slugs. Oh, there were also lots of indian pipes.

Olympic Medal Count Update: