If I had to give a "shop philosophy" for my Etsy boutique it might read, "Keeping myself busy while keeping you stylish." No where in my set of Etsy goals will you find, "be a millionaire" or "be the next Vera Wang." I just really enjoy sewing and like to create items that are functional.
That being said, I employ great effort in the sourcing of my materials. I need to get the best pricing and the best quality goods so everyone will be happy. I'm not into wasting my time and I refuse to work with crap.
One thing I thought I had the best source on was the vintage jacquard ribbons I use for my guitar straps. I thought the person I was buying them from (on Etsy . . . I'm not naming any names) was wonderful to deal with and offered reasonable prices. She did disappoint me however when I started ordering in bulk, as demand increased for my guitar straps, and she wasn't offering a bulk discount and was a bit owly when I would ask for excess shipping charges to be refunded.
I did a bit of research and found a new source for trims (not on Etsy) and coincidentally, their inventory was EXACTLY the same as the inventory of my previous supplier. It seems that although the two websites are unrelated and in different states entirely, my Etsy source has purchased nearly everything in this other inventory, marks up the price, and sells it for quite a bit more on Etsy.
Here I thought I was needing to raise the price on my guitar straps, which I have NEVER raised a price in over three years on Etsy, but I was clever enough to outsmart the fox and keep my prices low!
Hooray for research! Boo to being a middle-man! While I would never do anything to negatively effect her business, I am even more so on my toes when it comes to materials. To the shop I previously ordered from I say, "Bad form." And also, "You may want to remove the original packaging. When I received the shipment from my new supplier, I realized it looks identical the same as how to the way you've been sending it."
There you have it. My prices stay. All is well in the shop this week.
"Mom, is that your old board?" Axel asks me this morning. Although I heard his words, more importantly I heard them coming from outside, where he shouldn't have been. So I wrangled a pair of shorts and sped to the front door to see what he was referring to.
Sitting outside my front door was the most beautiful antique ironing board. Super strange. Having just moved here, nobody knows me and therefor I don't receive many random deliveries.
Immediately I started to hypothesize. Is this one of those "pass the white elephant gifts" where you dump a random object from yard to yard? Was this perhaps litter, someone dumping it in the middle of the night? If someone really did intend for me to receive this, why not come during the day so I could thank them?
This is perplexing...but really a great accident. I have adopted the abandoned "old board" and will be using it until it's claimed.
A beautiful Minnesota wedding. One flawless bride, one happy groom, one sweet ring bearer and lots of love. The sun shared it's rays with us in between puffy clouds. The bride was glowing in pink . . . lipstick that is . . . the only accessory that matters on a day full of kisses.
Just so we're clear, I always look like I do in the above photo. Throughout the summer I was able to effortlessly get rid of the sports-bra tan lines and the extra baby weight (three years later). No, truthfully, the only thing that came without struggle for my "wedding look" was my hair, which is hopelessly straight and I have finally reached a place of acceptance with that.
We are so excited this weekend! Today we celebrate our 5 year anniversary, we prepare for Jahred's sister to get married tomorrow and we're gaining one house-mate! While we're dancing the night away, Tyler, my brother, will be moving in and preparing to attend Saint Cloud State University for the coming school year! Yea!
To get ready for such a special house guest, I decided to try a few painting techniques on his walls. (Little does he know that in college you do plenty of wall watching as late night studying turns to blank stares.)
Here's what I did...
On the ugly, blank walls I painted two spots of yellow (not too fancy).
On one wall I taped a tree with painters masking tape. I used a ripped technique on the tape, giving it a torn, rustic edge.
On the opposite wall I used cleanly cut pieces of tape to create a bicycle wheel. If you haven't heard, this kid rocks his bike and is only one month away from his very first Ironman.
I painted over the tape, first in yellow to seal the edges, and then in the desired room color.
When I peeled off the tape, the results were pretty awesome! Now for the finishing touches of outlet plates and register covers. I think we're all set, including the homemade desk which will assist in earning a fourth college degree!
This weekend, Axel and I were witness to a pair of "I Do's." While most of us don't fall in love on the average day, if you are Axel, you fall in love EVERY DAY! At this beautiful outdoor wedding, Axel fell hard for his shadow. Then he roared at it.
Today is a milestone birthday for my Mom. Hint...she's turned the NEW 40! Nana is throwing her a pool party on Sunday, but Axel and I got a jump start on the cake! We've decided to go ultra-trendy (as per a suggestion by my friend Amanda) and make cake-pops.
Amanda, seriously, these things are a PAIN! Thanks for putting this adorable idea in my head.
I apologize for the blurry pictures, they were taken with my hands full of frosting and an inability to turn on any lights.
Mix up a regular store cake and bake it following the directions on the box.
Crumble the entire cake and mix with 3/4 can of store frosting. It will have the consistency of very fresh, home-made playdoh.
Let them chill in the fridge for a bit and then mold them into your desired "pop" shape. I made mine into cupcakes.
While your shapes are chilling (2-3 hours in the fridge), prepare a piece of foam with holes for lollipop sticks.
Melt your desired color of candy coating into a bowl and take a few "pops" out of the fridge. First dip the stick, then shove it into the pop. Next, dip the whole pop trying not to drop it off the stick and into the bowl. Next dip the top in sprinkles (notice what Axel is dipping into the sprinkles). HURRY and put the pop in the fridge to harden the candy shell.
We used Teddy Grahams and Gummy Life Savers to make little "tubers" in our swimming pool pops. You may have far more creative ways of decorating.
We arranged them all together on the foam with some curly ribbons underneath. Now, if only they can make it the 2 days and 100 miles to the party we'll be in great shape!
Do you know what rhymes with third? Turd! Of course if you've spent any time with my three-year-old, you'd know that he affectionately refers to any animal droppings (including his own) by the T word. While I used to be completely grossed out by his early use of the thesaurus, I've gotten over it. This morning, not even seconds after opening his eyes, Axel asked me a brilliant question, "Mom, how do snakes go turds?"
Because I completely missed my own third blogiversary I decided to mark the occasion today with a round of thrift-store shopping and lunch with my favorite date, Axel. We successfully raided a brand new thrift store leaving with a bean-bag chair, lamp, pair of pants for me and as luck would have it, a snake!
Following our exhausting scavenger hunt for bargains, we hit a 50's diner for a few refreshments.
Now, to mark the occasion of three years worth of self publishing I'd like to make my first ever political statement.
I cannot stand politics! For the forth week in a row, my column has been bumped from the local paper due to several loud-mouths who feel the need to voice their extremely right-wing opinions on various political subjects. What is it about people that just can't keep their mouths shut?
Don't we as Americans get our say when it comes to the poles? We do our job by voting people into office to do their job. If everyone was supposed to be represented individually, don't you think Barack Obama would invite us all to D.C. to participate in congressional votes and serve cupcakes afterwards? Why do people feel the need to take up valuable media time and priceless space in the local paper trying to tell elected officials how to do their job? If someone shouted at me from the curb in front of my house everyday how to run my home, be a mother and scrub my toilet I would be thoroughly pissed.
Seriously, when you vote in an election you agree to the following: first of all, you agree by voting that it won't necessarily come out your way, but you are simply imputing your opinion into who is elected. It's the pact you make by showing up to vote. Secondly, when you vote, you are signing over responsibility to the elected party for the term that is pre-determined. Whether two years or four, your vote gives them the authority for the duration of the term, NOT until "you feel you no longer agree with them."
For my final word on the subject I'd like to challenge the media to say NOTHING about the economy or anything political for six months. If it were so terrible to live here why would people still be flocking in from around the world? To the general population, this sensationalized state of affairs in Washington and at the stock exchange isn't such a "dooms day" situation. If everyone would choose to live the lives they dream of, and stay within their means, we'd all be just fine.
There you have it, my soap box opinion on politics, three years into my public life. Maybe we should all be a little more curious about where turds come from and other whimsical subjects, while being less bombarded about radical opinions on age-old debates.
I love when people request something custom! It has the most lovely side effect, getting me out of my everyday box.
Recently requested was a strap for a violin case. What a novel idea! Identical to my ever-popular guitar straps in every way but the hardware. Instead of leather tabs, I add swivel clips.
I'm always seeing people carrying their instruments on and off of buses, and the subways of Americas largest cities are just ripe with musicians! Might as well arrive in style to your next gig right?
I was seriously tempted to keep this strap for myself, had it not been for the adorable message this momma wanted stitched for her daughter. "Julia - You are loved like crazy."
So, off this baby went today, not without a photo session and a new item being added to my shop. Case straps. What a great idea!
In other news, welcome to August! I'm seriously glad to be inching towards fall as the heat and summer storms continue to pummel my lawn. It's either a scorcher or a monsoon. Perhaps fall will bring some stability?!
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