Crafting for a Cause

Good morning! I’ve been playing around with ideas for my blog so don’t be surprised if you see some changes soon.  My daughter will be going off to college soon and I’ve been using my Flamingo and Owl business to help her out and I will continue to use it to help her pay for her tuition and living expenses.  They don’t make it easy for kids to get an education these days without owing tens of thousands of dollars or more when they are done. Ridiculous! Anyway, I am trying to build my business and expand to some new areas that will, hopefully, be more profitable. 

The first thing I’ve done is start teaching craft classes.  You’ve all probably heard of wine and canvas classes where you paint a picture as a group, well, this is the same concept only with crafts! I’ve done a few now, but the burlap wreaths seem to be a big hit!  They’re great because you can reuse the same wreath every season or holiday just by changing the ribbon and little extras that can be wired on with floral wire. So far the classes are doing very well and I want to keep enthusiasm up so I’m always looking for more ideas and venues.  All the classes to date have been held at ReChic Unique in DeMotte, IN, and they have been great!  I would like to expand to a few more local venues. I have some in mind, but I need to talk to the owners or event planners to see if they will let me have some classes there. 

I would also like to do some in-home classes. They would be private parties where you invite your family and friends and have a fun day or evening of learning a new craft!  You could even choose what craft you want to do!

The other goal I’m working on is selling my handmade crafts and kits online through Facebook, Etsy, and maybe even my blog. I’m still in the early stages of this one, trying to build up a little stock and take pictures and you all know how I feel about that! If you don’t, let me just say that photography and cameras are my nemesis. I’m really bad at it.  It’s really hard to make extra stuff at Christmas time! So much to do, but it keeps me going and gives me purpose! On the plus side, I may be nearly finished with all of my Christmas shopping, gifts, food and baking supplies! I feel like sticking my tongue out. I’m such a child. Now I can get down to the baking and putting my gifts together in cute packages! Yay! Completely off topic, but it excited me….squirrel!

Right now, I’m off to do errands, and later, it’s a burlap Christmas stocking class at ReChic Unique! Have a super deduper day everyone, and I hope I’m back tomorrow to tell you all about the burlap stockings that the ladies are making tonight! I’ll try to have pictures. Winking smile

Have a great day!

Julie

 

DECISIONS, DECISIONS…..

So….I finally have time to sew anything that I want and I have no idea where to start.  I’ve had so many ideas running around in my head for the last 6 months or so. I have all the fabric I could ever need…lol, that never really happens does it?…tons of adorable, fun patterns, many projects in progress, and I am literally sitting here staring at it all with no clue.  Ugh.  Perhaps, I need a change of pace.  I think I’ll do a crafty project instead of a sewing project.  The magnets that I make sell really well in the shop and they’re down to pretty much school and Halloween themed ones so I think I’ll make some more summer appropriate magnets today.  Here’s a picture of what they look like:

Magnets - glass

I’m off to crafty bliss! Have a great day!

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Maddie-Sewing-Lessons.jpg

Sew Much Enthusiasm!

So, I’ve been very busy at ReChic Unique. I’ve been giving lessons to two great girls, Addison and Maddie.  Their enthusiasm inspires me!  Addison is 8 and has been telling me that she’s going to teach her kids to sew even if they are boys.  She’s a laugh a minute.  I’ve been teaching her for about a year now and she’s really getting into it.  She and her mom were both excited when she started sewing her own patches on her Brownie vest.  Her mom doesn’t sew at all so they had quite a collection going!  I let her borrow one of the student sewing machines because the one they have at home is an old hand me down and doesn’t work right.  Mom was thrilled when Addison went home and sewed and didn’t need any help because she was already familiar with the machine from her lessons.  She has sewn several of her Brownie patches on all by herself at home and some here during her lessons.  She has trouble with some of the oddly shaped ones, so I guide her through those.  She’s also working on a frog duffel bag. You can see her pinning the pattern to the green fabric in this picture.

 Addison-Sewing Lessons

Addison also helped me come up with a list of ideas for my Kids Craft Days this summer.  She already has her next two projects picked out and her fabric purchased! What a hoot!

Maddie is just as bright and funny, but in a more subdued way.  She’s also a little older, 11.  She’s made a few projects already too and only had 7 lessons.  I have pictures of an ottoman and an embroidered pillow, but she’s also made a simple dress and a pincushion.  Way to go, Maddie!  Maddie is taking the summer off because of a busy schedule, but I hope to see her adorable face back here in the fall!

Maddie-Sewing Lessonsmaddie otto

Both girls are so enthusiastic to learn to sew! I love seeing interest like that in such young girls.  It inspires me to make the learning fun for them while challenging them at the same time.   Keep up the good work girls! Maddie, keep practicing over the summer.  If you need ideas on simple things you can do to improve your skills over the summer, just ask.

Have a great day!

Julie

Giving Up Power

 

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

                                                                                                                           -Alice Walker

It was the strangest thing, but the other day I was reading my emails and this came up as the Goodreads quote of the day and I really felt something when I read it, like it was meant for me.  Later, I was reading a book and that same quote was used in the book.  After that, I really felt like it was a message for me.  It’s made me think about all the ways I give up power and how I can stop doing it.  I’m not sure yet exactly how it applies or what I should do, but man, it’s still making me think and feel something.  I’m not really ready to share all the ways I give up power, but I don’t think that’s the important part.  I think the important part is that I’m learning about myself or, at least, opening up my eyes. I think it’s something that we should all think about.  How do I give up my power?  Who or what do I give it up to?  When should I and when shouldn’t I?  I bet if you spend even 5 minutes thinking about it, you’ll be surprised at what pops into your head.

It goes along with a topic from Dynamic Catholic’s Daily Food For Thought from this past Monday. This is another coincidence because the quote above was from the very next day.

Jesus came to set us free, but as men and women we keep putting ourselves back into slavery - food, sex, money, gluttony, debt, etc. Recognize your slavery and allow God to liberate you from it.

   Jesus came to set us free, but as men and women we keep putting ourselves back into slavery – food, sex, money, gluttony, debt, etc. Recognize your slavery and allow God to liberate you from it.

                                                                                                                from The Narrow Path by Matthew Kelly

Basically, these are things that we give our power to and we become slaves to them.  We need to stop giving up our power.  I did a bible study on exactly that topic a few years back and it was amazing. Breaking Free by Beth Moore is the bible study.  I highly recommend it!  I would be very surprised if I didn’t write some posts about that bible study.  I couldn’t find any that mentioned it by name, but here is one that I’m pretty sure was inspired by that bible study.  I found the book downstairs and I plan to review it during Lent and hopefully be inspired and strengthened by its message.

Be free! Be strong! and quit giving away your power! When you come across a particularly moving quote or words that inspire you or move you in some way, pay attention.  There just might be a message there just for you.

Have a great weekend!

Julie

 

24-pocket zipper pouch

Frustrated and Falling Behind

I know that sounds very negative and I’m trying hard to be positive, but my nerves are fraying a bit.  I’ve been waiting since before the new year to get into a new space for my sewing classes and so I can just sew.  My sewing/laundry/storage room at home is overwhelmed and I can’t actually sew in there.  When I absolutely have to, I bring my sewing machine and ironing board and other miscellaneous supplies upstairs and sew at the dining room table.  I know for a lot of people that is the only place they have, but for us, that is the only place we have to eat so everything has to be put away daily. It is okay for small projects here and there, but not for the volume my little hobby has built up to. Carting everything up and down daily to and from an already overflowing room is a real creativity and enthusiasm buster.  We’ve been waiting for the current tenants to move out and into their new storefront, but they keep extending their time where they are.  I don’t know their situation, but we keep hearing that they’ll be out by this day and then they aren’t. 

I was supposed to have started up with lessons again and I’m falling behind on a couple of projects because of the delays.  I also haven’t made anything to sell in the shop at ReChic Unique.  I miss my students!  I also have some new students who want to start, but I’ve had to tell them that lessons are on hold until I can get in and set up my new space.  I’ve had several people request custom items and I have accepted so now I’m feeling a bit desperate. 

Alas!  I have a plan, at least a temporary one.  It involves a couple days of work clearing out another small section of my already small basement to set up a temporary sewing station.  It is not an ideal plan by any means because I will be invading my dog’s space so I will be in a constant battle with dog hair.  It will be okay for small projects, but definitely not for big ones, which is what I’m falling behind on. Sigh…..  For now, I will just have to set my mind to repeat the mantra, “I can do this. It’s only temporary.”, and keep lugging stuff up and down for the big projects.  I’ll still have to vacuum up dog hair constantly because the only place I have to lay out my projects right now is on the floor.  So, you see, I really haven’t solved anything.

Please! Please! Please! move out so I can return to my regularly scheduled programming! 

The positive side of all of this is I have a lot of orders and am getting more students all the time which has allowed me to be able to rent a space just for my sewing.  Not bad for a hobby!  Smile  I’m off to clear a table or a corner or something so I can sew.

Have a great day everyone!

Julie

Time for my First 5K

 

Wow, who knew I was sooo out of shape!  I’ve always been a walker, not a runner.  I’m a very fast sprinter, but I’ve never been a good distance runner….ever. I’ve wanted to do a 5K for years, but I always planned on walking it.  Why, then, do I suddenly feel the need to RUN one? I can walk 3 or more miles quickly with no problem, I do it on a regular basis, I just have never entered a 5K race. I found a training program for “your first 5K” from Fitness magazine and decided to try it.  I mean it says it can take me from the couch to running a 5K race in just 6 weeks.  So I told myself, “I can do this!” I decided that I would probably need to go through the whole schedule about 3 times before I could actually, comfortably, run a 5K.

I started this morning with Day 1 Week 1: Walk briskly for 1 mile, then run for 2 minutes every half mile until you get to 3.5 miles. Walk 1/2 mile.  I had a dentist appointment at 7 this morning. (I wanted to get it out of the way.) Right after that I went to the local park that has a 1/2 mile walking path.  I was ready.  I was bundled up in layers with a hat and mittens because it was only 260 F this morning and I am not a cold person.  I’m a beach person.  I had my ipod for music and because it has a stopwatch.  I started out on the path at a brisk pace.  The back half of the path, I  was walking into the wind and it was quite cold, but by the time I had walked 1 1/2 miles my hands and feet were all warmed up and my face was numb.  I misread the program before I left so I walked an extra 1/2 mile before I started the 2 minute runs.  In the end, that was probably a good thing.  I started the stopwatch and took off at a good jog.  It felt really good….for about 35 seconds.  By 52 seconds I was really pushing myself.  At 1 minute 12 seconds I had to go back to walking….and wheezing.  I finished that 1/2 mile, for a total of 2 miles, at a somewhat brisk walk and got back into my car still wheezing and headed home.

I’m not giving up, but I am going to modify my training schedule.  I’m going to repeat the first running day on every running day until I can actually do it.  I have a feeling that my 6 week program is going to take just a wee bit longer.  That’s ok.  I have time.

Speaking of time, I’ve made my calendar/schedule for January and February.  I find that doing this helps me to stay focused and I actually end up feeling like I have a lot more time for doing what I have to do and what I want to do.  January and February are pretty full with projects, but March looks like it will really open up for me.  So much happened this past year and I have so many great things that keep coming up that I shouldn’t have any shortage of things to write about, projects at home and the shop and quilt club too!  Today I’m off to create some pattern pieces for a wedding dress that I’m making.  I’ll let you know how I do on Wednesday.

Have a great day!

Julie

Warm Weather and Christmas Decorating

 

The weather here in northern Indiana has been crazy!  Crazy good I should say.  It is the middle of November, we haven’t had a flake of snow, and the daytime temps are in the 50s and 60s.  It’s crazy!  I am NOT complaining by the way.  It’s been gorgeous.  Nice enough to keep me outside doing little things.  I am not a Christmas before Thanksgiving person…at all.  By the way, apparently, in some stores, Christmas comes before Halloween now also.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine and I could rant for pages, but I’ll spare you for another day.  Anyway, the weather was so beautiful yesterday that I started putting up some outdoor Christmas decorations.  My family looked at me like I was an alien, but they really didn’t say a whole lot because it’s been a few years since I’ve felt Christmassy, and that’s saying something because Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I hate the cold so my husband always puts up the outside decorations, but I like how I do it….when I do it.  I got out the icicle lights and plugged them in to test them before I hung them.  Good thing.  Not one complete strand worked and the ones that did kept blinking on and off. Into the garbage they went.  I don’t want to spend any money on decorations this year so I said to myself, “Self, we are going to decorate without lights this year.  What do I need to do to make that work?”  I have come up with a plan to decorate on a budget of $0.  I am only going to use what I already have.  I’m a bit of a pack rat, so I have a lot of things in my stash that I can make into beautiful decorations with a little bit of effort on my part.  I’m just going to do it little by little and see what I can come up with.  Yesterday, I hung up all of my outdoor garland around my deck and up the handrails and added some of those red bows on corners and the tops of the swag sections.  I have a roll of white ribbon with red ornaments on it that I’m going to make bows out of and add those to brighten it up a bit.  Of course, I have to learn how to make bows first.  That is one thing that I have never been able to figure out.  I have a friend….it’ll all work out.  That might be a good idea for a series of posts.  (lightbulb moment!)  Christmas Decorations on a $0 Budget.  We’ll see how it works out.  Smile

Have a great day!

Julie