Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Studio Guest

This week and part of next, I am a "studio guest."  I get to work in my friend's studio!

I've been "going on and on" to my Etsy team buddies about my current house sitting and pet sitting for my friend who has a large sewing studio in her home!  I get to use it when I am here and so I thought I would show why I have been talking so much about it!  You must remember, my "studio" is in a one bedroom apartment that utilizes part of my bedroom for the sewing machine; the kitchen table for the serger when it is not set for dining; and an ironing board in front of my living room easy chair for fabric cutting and embroidery handwork supplies (not to mention ironing and pressing!)  Thus, I love creating when there is soooooo much room!  Enjoy your tour of my friend's craft room:

There is a large home made light table that my friend uses for tracing patterns for rug hooking. (That's her work on the wall above the table!)  I imagine using  the table for photography!  In the corner is a storage chest and the ironing board.
Sewing/Quilting machine and serger (hard to see in this picture) near the window for natural light and more storage!

Another shot of the sewing machine and the embroidery machine next to it.  Beyond the machines are the fireplace, love seat (with sleeping black cat, Griffey) and the reading/library area.

Another shot of the library shelves and reading area.

View from the reading area showing, from left to right, the serger, sewing machine and embroidery machine . . .  and MORE storage! (I never touch the embroidery machine!  It's too complicated for me!)

And back around to the large cutting table and MORE storage!

So . . . how do you like that!  Drooling yet?

Monday, January 16, 2012

BBA Challenge!

I belong to an awesome team on Etsy.  Although it's members are blogger friends that I have enjoyed meeting over the three plus years that I have been blogging.  It is a new team; Blogging Business Artisans support one another, and they host a monthly challenge.  This first Challenge is hosted by Deb of Storybeader because she was always wanting to try new projects but she stressed about where to find the time.  So this Challenge is to set aside time to work on a new project we haven't tried before.  It could be within our field of expertise, but doesn't have to be.

I do a variety of crafts, i.e. sewing, paper crafts, beading, etc.  I get bored doing the same things, so I had a hard time trying to pick something for this challenge.  After thinking about it, I decided to pick a technique that I have been wanting to try, but hadn't had the time.  I love embroidery and have tried ribbon embroidery and floss hand embroidery.  But I had never tried to do a technique called 'couching.'  This technique takes a cording, yarn or thread, and drapes it across the fabric in a desired position then adheres it with another stitch.  It can be done on a machine with a zig zag stitch, but I first tried it on my hand embroidered art hoops.

I recently hand embroidered this hooded oriole which is native to Southern Texas waterways.  I thought that the overall look of the hoop was a bit stark.  So I decided to try the couching method to add a background of reeds.

After choosing two types and colors of threads, I  draped them across the hoop to decide where I wanted them.

I sewed them thru the hoop fabric at each end of the desired length for each "reed."  You can see some, in this next photo, are loose from the design and present a shadow on the fabric.  Next, I sewed them down using a thin thread.  You can see some reeds completed and some not completed in this next photo.

The couching technique has provided some texture and dimension to my hoop, besides completing my project, don't you think? And it is just so much more fun than machine embroidery, I think!  (This art hoop and others available in my Etsy shop.)

Please visit the BBA blog to see what projects the other members have attempted for this Challenge!  Thanks!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Beginning today, I am taking a vacation from the computer!  Need some think time!  Need to develop some new routines!  For this type of thing, the beginning of the year is best for me.  I will probably spend some of the time going to Seattle to visit my grands, and maybe even a little trip to the beach for the rest of the down time!  So . . . .
 I will be back again on January 16th

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Goals!

Goals, goals, goals. 

It takes a lot of time to think thru what is, what should be and what you might like.  Yes, there are things that we want that are easy, we just know that we want them and that is that!  But in business, sometimes the end result that we want is not so easy to come by, so it requires a plan to get there- much of which I discussed in yesterday's post!

 As I said yesterday, I have three shops, one will close after today.  The Pruitt Supply shop had a sale yesterday! Yay! Well for that matter, so did the Creations shop!  Yay again!  Anyway, goals:

Creations shop:

My number one best seller (Yes, Edi) was my coasters!  With my cup cozies a near second.  So, this year I want to add some new designs and some new fabrics.  I have mostly used all cotton fabrics, but want to add a linen look coaster line to my offerings.  Also want to add some novelty fabrics, since customers at shows have often asked for specialty fabrics. So the goal is to expand this line. I also want to do more of the double and triple types:

Supply shop:

One of my best sellers in this shop was the vintage fabrics.  They are hard to find, but I intend to continue looking in all the estate sales that I can and maybe advertise for them.  They are so fun to find; fun to sell; and I feel like I am providing new life for a forgotten item--sort of my way of re-purposing them!

Personal Goals:
Now, for my personal goal.  I get a little bored making items for selling and then storing them until they sell.  This is OK, but in doing that, I get caught up in the selling and neglect my first love--quilting!  I want to make beautiful quilts. Art quilts!  In the past, I have used what pieces of fabric and scraps that I had and made do---making utilitarian practical quilts.  They turn our just fine with my creative abilities, but my heart longs to purchase fabrics specifically planned for a specific design!  I have always been too practical and purchased fabrics on sale,  fabrics that could double for my supply shop and my quilt making.  Nothing wrong with that, but I want to go . . . .

  . . . . . extravagant this year! 

I'd like to try some new fabrics, not just cotton, for quilting.  Something with a sheen that I can use for appliqued quilts, getting away from lattice and square designs.  I want to try applique, curved piecing and textured trims couched on the quilt. I want to try using specialty threads for the actual quilting.  I have so many ideas! I have already started a vintage doily quilt which I am excited about!  Here's a sneak peek:

So . . . . Goal of the year!  Ta Da!
Go extravagant, don't focus on the selling, focus on the vision of beautiful creativity! It will be much more fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals

I've been thinking quite a lot about new goals for 2012.  I always struggle with goals, because I think that I should be able to attain them if I list them.  Kinda like they are not real if I don't attain them.  Anyone else like that?

Goals shouldn't be like that.  They should be what you would like to see happen, even if you don't know how you are going to do it.  They should inspire you to work for the goals, inspire you to try new things, and inspire you to keep on going!  

So what would I like to see? Well, since I have three Etsy shops I had to approach them differently. (You got your cup of coffee handy?  This may turn out to be a long post!)

First, I am closing my Pruitt Design shop in two days.  I have tried to sell jewelry, but really don't have much luck, no matter what I do.  Last year I changed the look and emphasis, but still had no luck!  Just too much jewelry out there to flood the market and jewelry making is not my passion.  So, "C'est la vie"  and  "au voir"--I took French in high school! (BTW-everything is 60% OFF for these last two days.)

Goal:  find another venue for my remaining jewelry, maybe a consignment shop or second hand store. Maybe even a charity fund raiser!

My oldest shop, which got a new name this year, called Pruitt Handcrafts, was changed to Pruitt Creations.  It is kinda like my overarching brand shop, especially since my Supply shop sells my leftover fabrics, new fabrics, estate sale vintage fabrics and destash jewelry supplies and other craft supplies.

I looked carefully at the hearts (favorites) this year.  Many Etsians click favorites when they find you in a treasury, sometimes not because they actually want your item, but as a favorite to put it in the activity feed for others to see you.  That is nice, but it does not give me an accurate gauge of which items are really favored.  So I looked at my shop favorites verses my sales ratio. This ratio was not as high as I would like to see it even though I am getting lots of views.  So--

GOAL:  Find a way to raise this ratio to about 75%. (A blogger friend of mine has a 93% ratio.) This is a huge goal, since I will have to Check my sold items for favorites, eliminate some items that have never sold, and generally get downright brutal with my inventory and  then be creative!

This getting pretty long, and I bet your coffee is gone, so I will continue tomorrow, when I will wrap up and add a few of my personal creative goals!

See you tomorrow!

P.S.  Do you know what my best selling item was in 2011?  I'll share that tomorrow too!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Review

Some of my blog friends have done a review of the old year and listed their hopes & dreams of the new year.  I loved Rose's review, and thought I should do much the same.  Thanks, Rose, for the idea!

First, if you know me at all, you know that my year was filled with awesome crazy grandkids--25 of them!

Bella and Ada making a mess

Roman and Grandpa

And all those grands means that there is a lot of family!  So my year was spent with lots of gatherings for feasting! 

Daugher Jackie, SIL Terry (Suzanne's DH), and GD Courtney 
The next thing that hubby and I like to do is be outdoors.  We spent lots of afternoons eating our brown bag lunches at the riverside or taking our grands on a walk.  That was fun!

Bird watching on the Willamette

Kellog Creekside--One of my favorite pictures!
 Oh and there were lots of craft shows with my family:

And lots of Etsy stuff--shops & sales; forums & threads; promoting--tweeting & facebook; and lots of blog entries about the wonderful handmade world!

Custom order for an Etsy customer's Dad!

Lots of shopping at estate sales and finding awesome vintage fabrics:

Creativity from lovely estate sale fabrics!

And what now, for 2012? 
Looking carefully to see what the future might hold. 

See tomorrow's post for my list of hope and dreams.