Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday Thrifting (a day late again)

Sometimes I can't believe our luck. We picked up all of these amazing treasures at one yard sale!

even without a baby to give this to I couldn't pass this up

I love to find old bits of patchwork!

pretty blue enameled bowl

old school ice cream scoop

too funny to pass by

makes me want to bake, even in this heat

some special little touches

I've been wanting something pink for our home so I painted this stool for my workspace

A bit of advice--be on the lookout for multi-family sales!

Monday, July 26, 2010

85 Days of Summer

Goofing around with Trixie on Monday

Though this heat is making me consider relocating to Northern Canada our near daily trips to the lake have helped us cope.

Rainwater + paint roller + lawn furniture = hours of fun on Wednesday

Nothing like a cleaned up sewing space to inspire me.

Friday night sleepover!

After considering this piece on our last several visits to our local junk shop I finally fell in love and brought it home on Saturday.

Just errands on Sunday, but who says you can't dress up for the grocery store?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hard rock heals all wounds

Wednesday and Thursday were hard days for me. I haven't been sleeping well and have been exhausted and Lyric has become somewhat bipolar--sweet as pie one minute and then unbelievably angry, violent and prone to epic fits that have tested me more than Tigerlily ever did, and she was not an easy 3-year-old. I was feeling really overwhelmed and Skye took the kids out for a bit when he got home so I could rest (and cry a spell).

When they came home they gathered around me and all three serenaded me with "Living on a Prayer."

So awesome, and just what I needed.

We've got each other and that's a lot for love!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday Thrifting...on Friday

It's been a slow thrifting week but they can't all be quite so spectacular as the last several. It's nice to find some little treasures and spend less than $5!

never used and super cute

building our musicals collection

we can never have enough of these babies, especially at 10¢ a piece

a good pile of these comes in handy when the epic birthday parties roll around each year

I'm developing a thing for hex signs

that little framed piece is no larger than 3" square

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just f.y.i....

Custom book order listings are in the shop!

Keep in mind that these listings are only the most popular options, I'll gladly put together any type of book you can dream up. Also check out the new pages at the top of my sidebar which explain custom book pricing and list all stock image options. As I was going through all of the appliques I've made I realized that there needs to be another "most complex" level for pricing so that will be reflected on those pages.

All in all I'm very pleased with how the pricing formula has worked out--most options remain around the same price for a book with simple images (which are pretty cool, if I may say so ;) and go up in price slowly as more complicated images are added.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments or ideas! Or, you know, if you'd like to order a book ;)

Right now I'm only accepting 6 to 8 custom orders per month so please get in touch soon if you're interested!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

85 Days of Summer

Roscoe, Lyric and Trixie snack time on Monday

an overnight at Grammy's on Tuesday (while I did some major paper-purging)

some cuddle time with my favorite boy on Wednesday

bubble blowing after errands on Thursday

picking up the girl at camp on Friday--she didn't want to leave!

some sweet treasures found thrifting on Saturday

our big monthly cleaning day on Sunday (Lyric would rather read)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Custom book pricing

Okay, so I've been working really hard on coming up with a pricing plan for my work, stretching my math skills to their (admittedly short) limit. I think I've cracked the code and I'm feeling pretty good about it despite my fear of under/overcharging.

Without further adieu, here it is...

Price for base book (no images/embroidery)
6 page: $16
8 page: $20
10 page: $24

Price per image
Simple: $5
Medium: $7
Complex: $10
Simple: $6
Medium: $8
Complex: $12

Price per page for embroidery
Single word/phrase: $2
Bilingual: $3

Cover Style
Monogram: $4
Full name appliqué: $8

*a simple dedication can be added to the back cover free of charge.

So basically you start with the book length you'd like, decide if you'd like a monogram full name on the front and whether or not you'd like embroidery, and then choose your images. Here are some examples of what I mean by simple, medium and complex images:

Simple: These are straighforward images composed of 2 or less pieces and easy to cut and sew.
Medium: These are images that are composed of 3 or more pieces or are more intricate to cut and sew.

Complex: These are either super custom images or very intricate images with lots of detail and/or embroidery.

(EDIT: after going through all of the images I realized that there needs to be another category: most complex ($15 stock, $17 custom). It's all explained here.)

Stock images are ones I have already made templates for--there are a lot of them! I'll be spending some time over the weekend cataloging all of them. Custom images are ones that I haven't done before and include custom portraits (like the house and dog above).

So, basically the options range from $50 for a simple monogram 6-page book without embroidery to $172 for the most complicated 10-page book ever. I admit, I have to regulate my breathing when I look at that last figure (yikes! that's a lot of money...) but the fact is that that book would be worth every penny, and is unlikely to be ordered. Still, if anyone out there is itching for a crazy-cool custom 10-page cloth book I'm game!

I will try to add some generic listings to the shop that can be purchased for custom books, or at least figure out a straightforward way for folks to order a book. It's definitely a challenge to sell custom items on Etsy; I'm thinking about hiring a web designer to help me put together a site that will work with the system I've put together. Not until I make some money, though!

It's definitely been difficult to put this all together but I really want to continue in this work while making it as affordable as I can. I am always open to working with people individually and welcome new ideas from customers which may be more affordable. I welcome offers of trades, too and will work with folks on payment plans, etc. It's important to me to have options that most everyone can afford so I will also have lots of other options in my shop (readymade books, single image hoops, buntings...) at a lower price point.

I'd love to hear any comments or questions you have about this or any other topic!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Thrifting

Treasure hunting this week brought us lots of little gems, all coming in at under $10!

for the kids

to stay hydrated

some pretty things I couldn't pass up ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making a Living

I tend to be a pushover to inertia; when I'm working, I keep working and find it difficult to stop. And when I'm not working... well, I tend to have a really hard time overcoming that inertia hump and starting back up again.

calling to me...

Of course, I love my work and have a visceral need to be creative, but I also really needed that break. Sure, my shop is still up and I've been slowly working on some readymade things to fill it (and I still have some very delinquent things to finish for some very gracious and forgiving friends) but it's really my custom work that sells. And so I really haven't sold anything. And, it turns out, I can't make any money hanging out with my kids and organizing my house.

I am not really a fan of money. I wish we could all barter for what we need and not have to think about money. But, alas, there are bills to pay and children to feed and clothe and deck out in silly bands and the silly band peddler isn't interested in my work.

The mister and I have been thinking a lot about how we can live well with little money. We're firm believers in the idea of right livelihood (which I talked about a little bit here), doing and making as much for ourselves as we can and "working" (for money) only as much as we need to, doing things that we love and care about or at least don't hate. Skye is really starting to feel burnt out on carpentry (mostly physically, but also a bit psychologically) and I've been feeling more and more determined to actively contribute to our family's income.


So it's time for me to get back to work. Seriously. I'm ready to jump right in but I'll have to take it slow at first. I don't have much time with the kids home for the summer but I'll make it work. Thinking about starting up custom orders again has me thinking more about money and the sustainability of my business and I realize I really need to rethink my prices and make sure I am charging enough. The reality is that I have been charging far too little for some of my work (even though it can seem like a lot, I know!).

I'm working on a system of pricing that will make things more manageable for me and fair for all. It's based on lots of choices and hopefully there will be something for everyone and options that everyone can afford.

The idea is this: Books will be priced according to their length, the complexity of the images on each page, embroidery and cover style. There is a base price for each book length and then everything else is á la carte. This actually doesn't change book prices too drastically--in fact there will now be some even more affordable options--it will simply mean that the more complicated images that take so much time to make (but are so cool!) will be priced accordingly.

I'll be back on Friday with some concrete numbers for all of this and will spend the weekend listing some custom options in the shop. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 12, 2010

85 Days of Summer

On Monday I painted some thrifted pieces to add to our home, including this side table and sweet little shelf.

On Tuesday my friend Oli brought over this amazing piece of his work in trade for watching his dog, Mia. She's selling more pieces here.

On Wednesday I finished the kid room re-do. I painted the walls white and the top portion of the brick bright green and Skye built Lyric a real bed.

The kids came home on Wednesday night and on Thursday we spent a good spell at the local water hole in a vain attempt to escape from the heat.

...and Friday, too.

Saturday morning was spent thrifting and in the afternoon we got everything ready for Lil to go to sleep away camp.

Here she is at camp on Sunday! The camp looks AWESOME and she's with a bunch of her friends, but she was still really sad to see us go. I can't wait to hear all about it on Friday!