Friday, October 19, 2012

New features for Etsy sellers

Etsy has recently announced some exciting new features for sellers: Etsy gift cards and Listing Variations, which will allow customers to pick customization options on an item if available, such as colour or size.

Too bad neither feature is available to sellers outside the U.S. Considering 95% of my customers are Americans, I'm eagerly awaiting for these features to be rolled out to international sellers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Holiday Shopping Deadlines

Yes, it's time to start thinking about Christmas. Canada Post has posted their suggested mailing deadlines for online shopping. Here's a summary, for regular air:
Canada: Dec. 10
USA: Dec. 10
All other regions: Nov. 30

Shop local! New items recently stocked at Wisedaughters and Jinks Art Factory. I also take requests for custom orders.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Abbey Cats Adoptions, the cat rescue agency for which I volunteer, is having a

Black Tie Event

Adopt Black or Black and White or White with Black Kittens!!!

July 30 - August 12, 90.00 for 2 (That's 11.25/Paw)

These sweet, hard to place yet loving kittens are seeking happy homes and families to live out their lives.

Will you save a pair of loving kittens?

Provide all necessities: Food, shelter, comfort and companionship; add love to the mix and you'll have the perfect recipe for 24/7 entertainment and kitty-love.

Costs less than a day at the theme park and the benefits you reap go on for years.

And another benefit... you help us to rescue more cats & kittens

Monday, July 16, 2012

Craft show this week-end

It's been a while since I've participated in a craft show. This coming Saturday (July 21), I'll be at the Toronto Etsy Street Team Handmade Marketplace. This show features sellers from the Toronto Etsy Street Team, of which I am a member. The team works to promote fellow Toronto handmade crafters, artists, craft suppliers and vintage sellers.
See the list of vendors here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Skirt: New Look 6981

Finally got around to making a skirt from this pattern, New Look 6981, from which I had already made a top. It was very quick and easy to make. The only change I made was that the instructions called for a lapped zipper but I did an invisible one instead.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New top

New Look 6981:

This top should have been quick and easy to make but I had some trouble with the draped/cowl neckline. The instructions didn't make sense to me at all so I ended up doing what made sense to me, and it turned out ok. Despite that, I was able to make it fairly quickly - there is just the front and back, and armhole bands, which give it a nice finished look. The fabric is a light weight knit which drapes quite nicely. I came across it while shopping for fabric for a skirt (in progress!) and thought it would be nice for a more dressy top. It's beige with a bit of sparkle in it - fancy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Current sewing projects

When my local Fabricland closed last year, I took advantage of their sale to purchase lots of patterns, which I'm only now starting to work on. This tunic is New Look's 6677. I found a really nice lightweight cotton, making this an ideal sleeveless tunic for summer. This pattern includes different variations of the same tunic, allowing for lots of personal customization.

Love the split side seam (very comfy) and the
detail of the front neckline panels. It was fairly quick and
easy to make, except the front neckline panels were a bit
tricky because I hadn't made them like that before; it meant
some careful lining up - pay attention
to those dots on the pattern!

Next up, some skirts and a top from New Look's 6981.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some of my picks for Mother's Day gift ideas for the hip mama, made in Toronto!:

Friday, March 23, 2012

New box style toiletry bags

For those wanting a more gender-neutral or practical toiletry/cosmetic case than the ones I make with the metal frame (similar to these clutches), I now have a zippered box-style bag. They have a water-proof nylon lining and the outer fabric has been reinforced. Pulls at both end make it easier to open the zipper, or to hang the bag from a hook.

It took me a couple of tries to figure out the pattern for the dimensions I wanted for the bag. One of my criteria was to ensure it would be long enough to hold a toothbrush, and I didn't want something too big or cumbersome. I'm pretty happy with the final result.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Craft Room

When I bought my house the basement was unfinished, and one of the first things I did was hire my brother-in-law, who just happens to be a very talented, hardworking and capable contractor, to finish it. The basement had previously been dug out but was still a bit low and unlevel; after getting some quotes to see what it would cost to dig it out deeper, I decided the cost, and risk due to the age of the house, wasn't worth it. The basement is now 100% finished, with one side being my craft room and the other containing a new laundry room, powder room, and furnace area - more on that side of the basement another time.

Behold - my new(ish) craft room!  I sew and do other crafts as a hobby, but I also have two Etsy shops and sell wholesale and on consignment in some Toronto stores. I needed a space that was well organized, easy to maintain, and conducive to creativity. And with having cats, it's nice to have an area that I can completely close off so I don't have to worry about getting cat hair all over the fabric.

Most of the furniture is from Ikea. The strategically placed pot lights provide plenty of light and there is ample access to electrical sockets. I did all the painting myself (walls, trim, and ceiling!).

The sewing table, which holds my Janome domestic and Janome serger, is a kitchen countertop with legs on casters so I can move it easily if needed. The chair is also from Ikea. Note the task lighting above the sewing table.

The worktable too is a made from a kitchen countertop, and a lower kitchen cabinet, with adjustable shelves. The worksurface is large enough for cutting and pinning, and the shelves hold all my notions, purse making hardware, button making supplies, photography light box, and finished inventory. In the corner I have a shelving unit holding all my tools, mailing supplies, retail packaging supplies, card making supplies, and other craft supplies. The plastic drawer unit holds my fabric stash; my rule is that I can't purchase more fabric if there isn't room in the drawers. What self restraint!

Lastly, this built-in adjustable shelving holds my sewing and craft books and magazines, patterns, reference books, and other odds and ends.

Considering the room is in the basement and there are no windows, it's a very warm, relaxing and inspiring place to sew and work on other crafts.

Wall paint: Behr's Clear Pond
Trim: Behr's Snow Fall
Carpet: Home Depot

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Credenza drawer project

When I moved into my new house, I knew I wanted a vintage credenza to use as a TV/entertainment unit, to store CDs, DVDs, photo albums, gadgets and other odds and ends, and received one as a gift. With having cats, I thought it would be best to hide as many cables as possible. So I took it upon myself to see if I could adapt one of the drawers to allow access to the cable box. I knew what I wanted to do and had an idea of what kind of hardware I would need, but just wasn't sure if it would work. After getting some advice and spending less than $10 at my local big box store, I managed to turn the drawer front into a flap that opens on hinges, and stays closed with a magnetic clasp.

The first thing I had to do was remove the front panel of the drawer, which was fairly simple, but I did have to saw off some of the wood from the sides of the drawer that were slotted into the drawer front. I then drilled a hole in the back of the drawer and a corresponding hole in the back of the cabinet for cable access. This allowed me use some of my fancy tools, including the circle cutter!

The tricky part was figuring out how to place the hinges so the drawer front would have enough clearance so it could actually open.

Ta da! It worked. With the door closed you wouldn't know it has been modified. In total I think this took me about half an hour.  I also changed the drawer handles.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby blanket

Up until recently, I haven't had a lot of exposure to babies. Most of my friends, whether by choice or circumstance, do not have children. But now I have a friend who is expecting in the spring, and I knew I wanted to make something for the wee one, and I knew she would appreciate something hand made.

While I myself am not a quilt person, I do have great respect and admiration for the patience and attention to detail required to hand-stitch such a large project. So, I dug into my fabric stash and set to work on making a quilt-like baby blanket. I say quilt-like because although I used three layers, the top and bottom are not quilted together. I suppose it's more of a patchwork blanket.

At some point I had acquired some baby-specific fabric, and used this as the backing, and even had enough left over to make some baby cloths. The first step involved cutting the pieces and figuring out the layout. Thank goodness for my quilting square and rotary cutter!

Next, I serged all the edges to ensure durability.

After all the individual pieces for the top layer were sewn together and the seams pressed flat, it was time for some decorative top stitching. Then I sewed the back and front pieces together like a pillow case, leaving an opening so it could be turned inside out, and inserted the cotton batting padding.

To finish, I closed up the opening, and top stitched through all three layers around the edge to make sure the padding would stay put. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but if I were to make another one, I would probably make it a bit bigger, or depending on the use, choose a thinner padding - the one I used is a bit too thick to use the blanket for swaddling or privacy when nursing. But this one is a good size to use for comfort during playtime, or in the crib.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Etsy store sale

I'm having a mid-winter sale in my Zippster Etsy store to make way for new items - go take a look!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New dress

I've been so busy lately with other obligations, I haven't had much time to sew for myself. I bought some fantastic vintage fabric in Toronto's Kensington Market last fall, where it's been sitting on my work table ever since. This past week I finally set out to make a simple shift dress with it, from the Japanese sewing book Tunic and Dress.

It was very quick and easy to make, and I used bias trim around the arm and neck holes and hem. It will be perfect over a turtleneck and tights.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Toy mice for foster kittens

Inspired by my fostering with Abbey Cats Adoptions, I've started making toy mice for the cats in foster. I never know what to do with my scrap fabric, which I've been saving and can now put to good use. Once I've made enough I'm going to distribute them to the other fosters, and may even sell them in my Etsy shop, with the proceeds being donated to Abbey Cats. So far, my foster kittens seem to like them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wise Daughters craft market celebrates three years

On Saturday, January 28th, Wise Daughters craft market in the Junction area of Toronto will celebrate its third birthday. This wonderful store carries unique and carefully hand made goods from local artists, including myself, and hosts workshops and other events. Proprietor Mary keeps the selection fresh and relevant to the needs of her customers. My Zippster coin purses and magnet sets sell rather well there, and I am grateful to Mary not only for the opportunity, but also for the attention she provides to vendors, which isn't always the case with consignment.

Between 1 - 5, Wise Daughters will be celebrating with complimentary treats, great giveaways and live music by The Measure, a 4-piece acoustic band. Drop by and take a look at the goods!