A Heart “Felt” Gift

Ever since I started making my hand cut felt sets, I never had the best storage system. To be honest, I didn’t think they would be such a hit in my Etsy Shop and at Market House. I thoroughly enjoy creating these sets so I’m very glad they took off so well.

When I started, I was also living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment with no storage. All my sewing and felt supplies were boxed up after each use. When we moved to our house, I suddenly had so much room. The fabric took priority over the felt when I started using Erin’s old dresser and changing table for storage. The felt just stayed in the same box. It was hard to keep it organized and very quickly, the box came to look like this:

image

Ugh!!! So embarrassed to show you my felt box!

Yeah….not good. And yes, the pile has toppled over a few times.
Last month, I came across an inspiring photo on Pinterest
for organization in a closet. All done by the container store materials. I knew I needed something exactly like it. Yet the sticker shock ($900) from The Container Store brought me to tears. I posted on Facebook asking for my friends to help me find a cheaper solution with the same look. My good friend who lives literally on the other side of the planet found a very similar item at Ikea and suggested it to me. Thanks Ashley!!!  It was a no brainer to add the Algot system to my Christmas list. I put three down each at around $50-60 and waited to see if it ended up under the tree.
Well, I’m so pleased to say that I received one of them from my blessed sister in law!

image

ALGOT organization bin system from IKEA

It was a breeze to put together and each bin slides out easily. So, that pile of felt in the brown box was given a new home this afternoon:

image

My organized felt!!!!!!!

OMG!!!! THANK YOU ARIANNE LEE!!!!!! YOU ARE TRULY THE BEST SISTER IN LAW EVER!!!!!!!
All of my felt supplies are right in one spot….ORGANIZED!!!
I put two colors in each bin:

image

Red and orange felt

image

Yellow and green felt

image

Blue and pink/purple felt

image

Black, Grey and Brown felt

image

Cream and White Felt

As you can see, the basket pulls out far enough for me to easily see and reach the back color of felt. I didn’t even know I had that much felt! I always feel like I’m almost out of a needed color! This will definitely help save me some pennies when supply shopping!
As you can see, I put my pre cut felt sets, patterns and embroidery supplies in the bottom basket easy to grab in the same location (they used to be in 2 different rooms)

image

Felt patterns and embroidery supplies!

This system will eventually be put in the office closet once someone with a newborn on the way wants the dresser/changer combo. For now, it’s in a great spot too!

Well, I’m off to work on some felt set orders!! Some of my sets are Limited Edition, so act fast as new sets will be introduced soon!

Uncharted Waters

A few months ago, I scored a remnant of Polyurethane laminate (PUL) fabric while using up coupons at my least favorite fabric store. It was sitting right there, on the top of the remnant basket in plain sight.  As I spotted the item, I figured it was probably an 1/8 of a yard or at best 1/4.  But, as I checked out the tag, I saw that it was labeled as 1 yard!  How could this be!?!  This expensive fabric, $15 (at best) a yard, a full yard of it, in the remnant pile!?! (For those of you who don’t know, remnants are usually left over fabrics sold at a majorly discounted price- usually 50% off or more.) PUL fabric is something I’ve been looking at, dreaming about, waiting to snag an excellent deal on.  My idea of using PUL fabric would require at least a yard or more for something that may not even work out in the end.  I didn’t want to spend full price for this to have the project come out a disaster!  This remnant, staring at me in the face, was gorgeous too! (usually the larger remnant fabrics available are pretty ugly looking) I quickly put it in my basket and covered it with the cut fabric I had so some mean fabric snatcher wouldn’t steal it out of my basket.  I scored a yard of PUL fabric for $7!!!! Yippee!!!

Why is PUL fabric so fabulous? Because it’s waterproof AND breathable!  It’s used to make cloth diapers, bibs and other items that need to be waterproof.

Needless to say, I actually didn’t jump on my project right away.  I kept the fabric in it’s bag in my bedroom….just waiting to be used.  I was still worried that what if I cut this stuff up only to be tossed in the trash because my idea was a disaster!?!

My sewing adventures and my Etsy shop continued on….I started thinking of new things I’d like to add.  More personalization, more items other than tote bags and clutches.  Then, it dawned on me.  The word “applique” became part of my top Google word search.  If I learned the technique, I could personalize almost anything!  Better yet, I learned that my sewing machine has an applique stitch setting! Another Yippee!!!

I was left with one more question: what should I make that would be a great item to applique?  A backpack!  A waterproof backpack!  I had some other PUL fabric left over from making a friend bibs that a potential customer would love.  BUT, first I needed to learn and perfect applique.  I decided to take some of my remnant PUL fabric and test out a new design: a toddler sized drawstring backpack.  What a nifty idea!  Easy access for fingers of all ages, waterproof for wet clothes, diapers, leaking sippy cups/water bottles, and small enough for the toddler to carry their own “responsibility.” 😛

I got to work, cut my fabric, marking areas not to sew, obtaining the drawstring cording, figuring out which applique products to use, grommets and tools, etc.  It was a lot of fun and a great adventure.  Here is what I ended up with:

Pretty neat huh!?!  Erin LOVES her new backpack!  She loves the name, the button I used to dot the “i,” she LOVES to show it off.  As a mom, I love it too!  It’s the perfect size for her.  I can fit a change of clothes, her water bottle, a small snack, and meal accessories (bib, fork, spoon, etc) A wet swimsuit!!!!

Here is a photo of the inside of the bag:

4I had some left over monkey fabric from a tote bag order I fill back in May.  Since Erin LOVES monkeys, it was perfect.  I think it adds a very neat and fun surprise to the bag!

I added a listing for a backpack like this (fabrics can be customized as well as name) to my Etsy shop.  I already have received one order for one!  I’ll be using this fabric:

Large_UO-915You can create a custom order for this item by visiting this listing in my Etsy Shop here.

I’ve also added this item to my gallery and options on my Etsy Shop Page here. You can view this listing and my other listings from this page, connect to the listing on Etsy by clicking on each photo’s link.  My Christmas in July Sale ends this Sunday so hurry to get your orders in for 10-20% off!

The Fabric Monopoly

I live in the largest city in the United States. We have almost anything at our fingertips. There isn’t one thing you can’t find here. (Well, there is, but that is another post) However, when I began my sewing adventure, I realized that fabric stores are really hard to come by around here. There is ONE in the specific area where I live, but it only sells fabrics for Sarees. I did find two stores about 20 minutes away. They are independent/local businesses.  Otherwise known as mom and pop stores. They are priced higher than a big chain I will compare them to later.  The selection of fabric isn’t as great. Rarely do they have sales and no coupons here! So off to Google I go to find that large fabric and craft store chain that is nationally known. To my regret, the closest Joann Fabric and Crafts is in Long Island! A good 40 minute drive away with no traffic! (which there always is in New York) Don’t get me wrong, I like Joann for certain reasons: large selection of fabrics, lots of sales and if you get on their mailing list, you get a ton of coupons! Perfect for a person bit by the sewing bug. Yet, my last two visits have left me a little……displeased.

Once, I went to get materials to make my first hand bag. The help was nice, except for one thing. When I asked for batting, I was given interfacing instead. I didn’t know any better, but my sewing teacher taught me the difference. HUGE DIFFERENCE!  A few days later, I headed to my local fabric store and purchased some batting. After seeing it and feeling it for the first time, I must say, that Joann employee had no idea what she was talking about!

After I finished my handbag, I wanted to make a similar larger one. I didn’t have time for a 40-45 minute drive, so I headed to my local Fabric store, Sew Right. The employees were so helpful! I wanted to add some embellishments onto this bag and she helped me pick

Here is my first handbag!

Here is my first handbag!

out everything I needed and what materials would be best for these additions. When she cut my fabric, she used a rotary cutter to make sure it was cut straight, and when she had just less than a 1/4 yard left of fabric,she gave me that portion for 50% off instead of selling it to someone else as a scrap. It was so nice to have someone take the time to work with me,my ideas,and offer their opinion. I left very happy.

Yesterday, I was in Long Island for our MOPS meeting. I needed some fabric for a project for a friend. And I knew they had that specific fabric whereas my local shop did not. So, off to Joann I go with an almost 2 year old in tow.

Now, normally, Erin is quite good in stores. She’s helpful and patient. But this trip was a different story. “Walk?”, “Cart?”, “Sit?”, “Thread?” She was entertained alright, just not in the helpful way. I finally get my fabrics and bring them over to get cut. NONE of the employees were very friendly. It seemed like their job was the last thing they wanted to be doing that day. They weren’t very nice to my child either. Erin wasn’t in their way at all.  All of them looked like they were way beyond child bearing years, so I’m sure most of them have some grand kids at least. She cut my fabric with barely any words, but when I asked help to find the interfacing I wanted, she said, “No, its over there, find it yourself.” Here I am, on the verge of yelling at my child for not cooperating in a store, trying to be cordial to an employee who is getting PAID to supposedly help me and then refusing to do her job. I’m lugging my purse and a diaper bag around, a cart that doesn’t fit down ANY of their aisles and trying to keep a toodler from tossing out EVERY SINGLE SPOOL OF THREAD FROM THEIR SHELF! I was about to lose it in a not so nice way. I took 1 minute to look on my own. I then came over and said firmly, “I could really use your help finding this. I am trying to keep track of 10 different things while looking at a list and keep my child’s hands to herself. It will get my child and I out of your hair sooner if you just help me.” She came over and did. I half heartedly apologized and explained how very frustrated I was at the situation I was in. She rolled her eyes and said, “I see your frustrated.” The only nice thing about my trip today was that the cashier let me keep my stuff at the counter after paying so I could take my child to the potty.

I’ve always liked and wanted to support local businesses, but when it comes to cost, I usually go for cheaper. From now on, I think I will never step foot in my not so local Joann again.