Monday, June 2, 2014

Baseball Cuff Bracelets, Dog Bandanas, and Insulated Bottle Carrier

I can hardly believe eight months have passed since I last posted an entry on this blog! It wasn't my intention to take such a long break, but my SewAmazin shops have kept me busy sewing, sewing and sewing! I originally started choosing photos and drafting this post last summer (along with several others). I just haven't had the time or energy to come back and finish writing them. And to be honest, even this one post has taken me about two weeks to find the time to update, edit and publish.

One purpose for keeping this blog is so that I will have a virtual scrapbook of the things I make and how I make them. I actually do refer back to some of my older posts while working on similar projects, so it's been frustrating for me to allow so much time to pass. On a positive note, now I can combine several related projects into a single blog entry, like this Baseball themed post (although my memory is a little hazy now about some of the details). Hopefully I will catch up by the end of the summer...

Baseball Cuff Bracelets

Back in May of 2013, I stitched up a few samples of these baseball cuff bracelets using in-the-hoop embroidery designs from DigiStitches. They are made of white marine vinyl from my stash. I originally bought the vinyl remnant with the intention of making something Westie-shaped, but it's perfect for simulating the cover of a real baseball!

For the backing, I found a white terry type knit in my fabric collection and used it instead of a second piece of vinyl, to soften the side that goes against the skin. The embroidery design comes in 3 sizes. I made the smallest size (about 7 inches long) for my nephew with his name and little league jersey number (his younger brother got one too, with just his initials on each end). The embroidery is stitched with polyester embroidery thread; the baseball stitches are red and the name and number are royal blue. I added a red snap as a closure. As I recall, the boys both really liked their cuffs.

Baseball Cuff Bracelet

I made the largest size (8 inches long) for myself, stitched in Mets team colors. The baseball stitches and the snap closure are orange and I added #LGM in royal blue. If you're wondering what that means - it's a hashtag for Lets Go Mets!

Baseball Cuff Bracelet

Below are my samples for each size cuff bracelet. For the medium size (7.5 inches long), I stitched the sample with the name of our nieces' softball team. I wasn't happy with the density of the stitches for the letters, so I still have this one in my sample collection. I don't remember what fonts I used for the lettering, so if I ever get a chance to stitch more of these cuffs, I'll have to figure that out...

Baseball Cuff Bracelet

In addition to the cuff bracelets, I purchased DigiStitches Baseball Flowers In The Hoop; I had intended to make both and offer them for sale in my shop or at craft fairs, but I haven't had time to stitch them up.

All Star Baseball Over-the-Collar Dog Bandanas

Every year, the MLB All Star game falls on or around my birthday in July. In 2013, the game was hosted by the Mets at Citi Field!

In anticipation of the summer classic, in June I made these All Star Baseball Over-the-Collar Dog Bandanas, using complementary stars and baseball fabrics in patriotic red, white and blue. I couldn't decide whether I liked the baseballs or stars better for the front, so there are two versions of this bandana. They're available in several sizes in the Sports Pets section of my shop on ArtFire.

All-Star Over-the-Collar Bandana, Large-XLarge All-Star Over-the-Collar Bandana, Medium

Keli models the Large size with the baseballs on navy blue as the front with white stars on red as the back and casing; Penny models the Medium size with the stars in front and baseballs as the back and casing. A year later, I still like both versions!

These 'no dip' over-the-collar bandanas are made using another in-the-hoop design from DigiStitches.

Baseball Monogram Insulated Bottle Carrier

Last fall, I received a request for a custom sized, baseball themed insulated bottle carrier, similar to one I made for Christmas 2010.

I embroidered the baseball shaped applique just like the 2010 version, and added the name on top, but the white nylon fabric puckered in the middle and shredded around the edges. It looked awful. Rather than stitch it again, I considered other options - and then I remembered how well the marine vinyl looked on the cuff bracelets.

At some point I also remembered I had purchased a Baseball Alpha font from Planet Applique which was perfectly sized for this project. Using software, I added the name Riley, stacked and slightly offset on top of the applique design ( the font is Puppy Love from 8 Claws and a Paw).

Riley Insulated Bottle Carrier

The vinyl stitched up great for the monogram letter! The only tricky part that I remember was trimming the section inside the curves of the 'R' without cutting the nylon base fabric. This carrier was sized to be slightly shorter than I usually make them; it had black strap and black plastic swivel snap hooks and d-rings.

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Now that this post is finally published, I'll be working on several others. Hopefully I'll be able to publish them once or twice a week...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Update: RBARI Anniversary Party

We had a great time at RBARI's 35th Anniversary Party at the Shelter in September!

After a week of uncertainty about whether or not it might rain, it turned out to be perfect weather for the event. We arrived bright and early to set up around 8:00 am. Guests began arriving at 11:00 am and we had a steady stream of visitors throughout the day until the party ended at 4:00 pm.

My previous blog entry showed some of the new bandanas and scrunchies and other goodies I had worked on in preparation for the day. Here's our booth, all set up and ready to greet the party guests:

SewAmazin booth

Maverick was our very first customer of the day and he picked out this Candy Corn scrunchie neck ruffle. (It looks a little big on him because his neck fur is hanging loose over the edge.)

We met lots of nice doggies and their people all day long - and we got to meet many of the dogs currently available for adoption. What a bunch of cuties!
We were pretty busy most of the day and I neglected to take any other photos - before I knew it, we were packing everything up to go home.

One of the local papers recently posted this very nice article about the event: Bergen's largest no-kill shelter marks a milestone

Visit the RBARI website to read 35 Happy Ending stories.

The day was a big success. We sold a little bit of everything - bandanas, scrunchies, kitty cat and doggie-shaped coin purses and cases. After I had a chance to count the cash and crunch the numbers, we had a nice profit and had very tidy sum to donate to the shelter.

About two weeks before the event, I ordered the small banner for my table, business cards and labels with my new and improved logo from Vistaprint. My order arrived a week later and everything looked great. I stuck the business card labels on about 13 plain white shopping bags and pre-stuffed the bags with a coupon for my ArtFire shop. I had more bags and labels with me if we needed them (we didn't).

I worked almost up to the last minute on my inventory and how to display it. In my previous blog post I showed my rotating pegboard display, already set up for scrunchie neck ruffles. I was working on something new for the bandanas. Here's a photo of the pegboard display I envisioned:

Pegboard Display

It's only clamped together in the photo above, just to see if everything would fit together. I re-used my original scrunchie racks by drilling holes through the posts and using 3 inch bolts and nuts to attach the 2x4 foot pegboard. The base of each rack was then clamped at the back to the table. In addition to the pegs on the front of the board, I used the dowels to display some of the bandanas and collar slipcovers.

Table layout
The bandanas and a few other things took up most of my 6 foot table and the scrunchie display was set up on one 4 foot table, but I needed a third table for everything else.

I experimented with baskets and boxes at home until there was a place for all the dog- and cat-shaped cases and the other wristlets, sunglass cases and checkbook covers. It wasn't perfect, but it worked.

My next 'live' event is November 23 at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Maywood, NJ at their indoor holiday market. I'm planning to use most of the same displays, with a few modifications.

The bandana pegboard has been modified so it will fit on a 4 foot table. I've moved the support racks in toward the center and raised the board up about 6 inches, so the top of the board is at eye-level. The cat- and dog-shaped cases will also be on this board. The basket in front will have pre-packed sets of matching pieces, and there's room for the pound puppy bandana model.

Pegboard Display, revised

My bigger 6 foot table will have all my holiday items, wristlets, sunglass cases, checkbook covers and anything else I'm able to finish in time. Fitting everything on the table in a visually pleasing way presented another challenge. I liked the way the pegboard worked out for the bandanas, but didn't want a second 2x4 foot board taking up a full table. And I didn't have any way to support it without spending too much time or money building something.

While shopping in one of our local craft stores last week, I noticed they used pegboards and wire shelving for some of their displays, joined together using cable ties. So I 'borrowed' that idea ... remember at last year's Adorno fair (blogged here), I used some old wire shelves and cable ties for a display? Two of the shorter pieces were the perfect height for a table setup. All it cost me was the price of another 2x4 pegboard at Home Depot. They even cut it in half for me, so all I had to do was tighten a few cable ties.

Here's the result:
Pegboard/Shelving Display

The 2x2 pegboard is attached to the wire shelves on each side with cable ties at the top and bottom of the board. The shelves are a little taller, so I raised the pegboard up a few inches. The shelves set at an angle and they seem pretty steady, but I'm working on an idea to weight them down so the whole thing doesn't tip over. And there's plenty of room on the table for baskets and other things.

Pegboard/Wire Shelving Display
Here's a closer look at one of the cable ties, threaded through one of the holes of the board and around the wire of the shelf.

Now, all I have to do is get to work stitching and filling up those baskets and pegs with great holiday stuff!

Countdown to Christmas

I've joined this week's Countdown to Christmas hosted by Blue Morning Expressions. The links below are a collection of unique handmade gift ideas for the holidays, and not just for Christmas! You'll find something for everyone for Halloween, Thanksgiving and other gift giving occasions, too.

I'm sharing each of the linked items to my Countdown to Christmas 2013 board on Pinterest.

Note to email subscribers: if you don't see the links below, you can view this post online

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

RBARI's Anniversary Party at the Shelter

Last September, Keli and I attended Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc. (RBARI)'s 8th Annual Mutts Marathon, held at Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ. It was our first time at the annual event, and we had a great time! (You can read all about our day in our Mutts Marathon blog post.)

This year, instead of the marathon, RBARI is celebrating their 35th anniversary on September 21 with a "Party at the Shelter" in Oakland, NJ and I'll be a vendor at the event!

They'll have food, music, pictures with your pet, shelter tours and other fun activities from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Well behaved dogs on leashes are welcome to attend. For directions and more info, visit RBARI's Anniversary Celebration page.

I've been working on bandanas for Halloween, Autumn/Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as cat- and dog-themed creations in anticipation of the anniversary party. Kris, aka kayjaysbunnyhutch, will be joining me again and has created some pawfectly adorable charms featuring bunnies, critters and rescue.

The following is a brief preview of some of the items that we'll have available at the shelter party. If you plan to come to the party and see something you'd like, please contact me and I'll be sure to hold it for you.

New Over-the-Collar Bandanas (clockwise from top left): Biker Bow Wow, Skullies, Halloween Boo! and Bats, and Halloween Black Cats. The last two are limited to one in each size (XS to XL) because they've been made with remnants left over from other bandanas. This style of bandana is made in-the-hoop using machine embroidery designs from DigiStitches.

Over-the-Collar Bandanas

These Halloween Ghosts and Black Cats with Pumpkin Bandanas were made last year and are still available.

Over-the-Collar Bandanas

Two new boo-tiful Scrunchie Neck Ruffles for Halloween - Halloween Argyle in Black and Orange and Halloween Diagonal Stripes in spooky green, purple, orange, black and white stripes. Both will be added to the Halloween section of my shop on ArtFire soon.

Halloween Argyle Scrunchie Neck Ruffle Halloween Diagonal Stripes Scrunchie Neck Ruffle

Pegboard DisplayI've been re-thinking my table displays and have decided to use this rotating pegboard display for all the scrunchie ruffles. I've updated my packaging so that each ruffle has a wrap-around label made of cover stock, so the sizes are easy to read and they hang nicely on the pegs.

Do you like our new scrunchie 'model' sitting on top? I found him at the Goodwill store earlier this year. We're calling him Scruffy - he's the perfect size and has very realistic looking fur. I think he's a vintage stuffed dog, maybe a Fox Terrier?

Still in progress is another 2x4 foot pegboard 'wall' that will be braced by my old scrunchie display racks and will be clamped on to one of my tables. Collar slipcovers, bandanas and some other items will probably go on this wall.

This week, I'm working on new bandanas for Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas - I still have 10 days before the party to finish!

A couple of new Puppy Dog Cases (and their matching coin purses and sunglass cases) have joined the pack. I'm calling them Cinnamon and Spot. The others are Coco, Smokey and Butterscotch (currently listed in the Puppy Dog section of my shop on ArtFire).

Puppy Dog Cases

Did you know that September is Happy Cat Month? These Kitty Cat Cases (and matching coin pouches and sunglass cases) will also be looking for furever homes. The Black Cat has glow in the dark eyes and nose. The rest of the felines currently listed in the Kitty Cat section of my shop will also be with us at the party.

Kitty Cat Cases

The Puppy Dog and Kitty Cat cases are made in-the-hoop using machine embroidery designs from Embroidery Garden.

kayjaysbunnyhutch Here are some of Kris's creations - these Rescue themed key chains are adorable! She has used small square tiles and added images with phrases like 'Rescue Cats Rule', finished with silver colored charms shaped like dog bones, kitty faces, hearts and more.

kayjaysbunnyhutchThese round charms with images of whimsical 'critters' have also been turned into key chains by adding ball chains and split key rings.

These key chain charms have images of bunnies on square tiles and Kris has added a dangle of beads in orange and green, resembling carrots.

Dog and cat- themed balsa wood charms can be added to bracelets or necklaces, or used as zipper pull charms on bags.

If you come to the Party at the Shelter, be sure to stop by and tell us you read about it in my blog - 
I'll have a small gift for the first 10 people who do so!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just a little bit of blog housekeeping ...

Just a few 'sew'cial odds and ends to share in this post - Even though I haven't posted regularly over the summer, I have been sprucing up here and there and added some new links and a widget to my sidebar:

WaneloWordmarkIf you're a fan of Wanelo, you can follow me there now. And you can browse, share and shop in my SewAmazin store on Wanelo.

btn4Check out my SewAmazin front page on Rebelmouse - the RSS feeds from my blogs, ArtFire, Twitter, Facebook and other social sites all flow to this one page.

Share a link back to my blog with the 'Grab my Button' widget.

If you're viewing the mobile version of my site, which doesn't show the sidebar, I've also added all the links mentioned above to the 'Sew'cial Network page of my blog. 

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Did you enter My Birthday Celebration Giveaway in July? The winners were selected on August 1 and are shown on the entry page (first names only). Thank you to everyone who entered!

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I totally missed my Blogoversary back in June! It's been 6 years and 343 entries since I started this blog. :-)

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