Monday, October 31, 2011

Nothing for Granted

It’s Halloween and we’ve already had a small “trick” played on us: we lost power about two o’clock this morning. Electricity didn’t return until almost five. Although I slept during most of the outage, it was odd not being able to check the time, or even see where I was going once I did get out of bed! It’s dark out here in the country! Low level lighting throughout the house and outside normally lights my path, but not today!

As I slowly woke ~ knowing there was no power ~ I thought, what could I do to continue with projects I’ve started and really need to get finished? I briefly put myself back in the day when there wasn’t electricity, but stopped my wandering mind knowing the women of yesteryear were already set up with lanterns, pedal sewing machines, etc.

Ah! A part of me would love to go back in time, to capture that experience (without knowing what I would be missing)!

Losing electricity, if for a little while, reminds me not to take anything for granted. And, I don’t have time to daydream. Thankfully ~ as I’m always grateful for the technology age I live in now ~ power is back on and I can get things done!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creating Special Custom Orders

Really, it’s a simple process. At least, for Lanetta’s Creations it’s simple. I’m sure other handcrafters would agree. Making the just right apron, or a handbag/tote, or a doll dress ~ whatever the case may be ~ for the customer is my main goal/purpose/reason I create items here in Texas. When someone’s looking for an apron… they may like a design/style that I’ve already handmade and listed in my ArtFire Shop or shared on my Facebook page, but would prefer a different color scheme. That’s not a problem, simply ask!

I love email! Communicating via email helps to make the process simple, and fast! I’ll explain what usually happens when someone requests a special custom order––
I receive an email asking: “Do you do custom orders?”
I respond, “YES!” and ask, “What do you have in mind?”
It’s then the getting-down-to-details conversation begins, either via email, sometimes by telephone!

For example, recently a customer said she was getting her Christmas shopping done early and wanted an apron designed like my "Signature Collection" and three aprons designed like the one I entered (and won First Place!) at the 2011 State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Competition. (She had seen the picture I posted on my Facebook page.) She didn’t want the elaborate detail I did for the fair’s apron. She simply wanted the halter style for the top with a gathered skirt and any embellishments were up to me. She also told me she wanted them in traditional Christmas colors/prints.

I looked through my inventory of fabrics and combined pieces I thought would work well together, took snapshots, and emailed the pictures to her. I also explained she wasn’t limited to what I had on hand, that I would be willing to find other selections whenever I could get to Joann’s. She wrote back immediately, loving what I had shared, listing the ones she would want and for which person a particular color combination would work nicely.

A few pictures with suggested fabrics I emailed for her consideration:

After she selected who would get what fabrics, the next bit of information I needed: height and dress size for each lucky person she’s giving a Handmade in Texas apron for Christmas! Heights ranged from 5'3" to 5'6" in a variety of dress sizes.

Wondering how I would trim/embellish the aprons, I asked, “Do any of them like fu-fu things?” With this last answer of "NO, not at all!" in mind, I began the actual cutting out and sewing process!

After completing each apron, I would take a picture and send to my client for her approval. She would respond with, “Perfect!” Once she wrote, “These aprons ACTUALLY look like **** & ****!!”

Since I don't know the eventual recipient, it’s wonderful when a plan comes together!

Based on a bit of communication and pictures via email,
the result of three "Fair Designs" and one from my "Signature Collection"

all are Special Custom Orders:

I've done this same process with others... sometimes a client knows EXACTLY what they want it to look like... this one was an easy concept for my mind to wrap around:

See, it’s simple ~ and easy ~ to have a custom special order for someone special in your life! Try it! Make this Christmas, or birthday, or a just because, gift extra special with a custom made, item that’s Handmade in Texas by Lanetta’s Creations!

Hope to hear from you!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ramblings of a Designer

I need to design an apron to wear during art/craft vendor shows that displays my new logo.
A “special” apron was created for the show that got rained out a few weeks ago. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not thrilled over the way it fit me. I didn’t feel “good” wearing it. The plan simply didn’t come together like I’d envisioned with the much too heavy fabric I used. I ran out of time to create another one but I have time now before the next show.

The original apron will be perfect as a waist apron, one to wear while gathering okra or beans or whatever harvest from the garden! The bib part will be refashioned into a bag/tote I’ll use for carrying supplies! I’ll post pictures later!

I have a couple of ideas I’m tossing around for the new logo apron, and have found better, lighter weight fabric in the perfect color. Neither design idea, however, do I have a pattern to use!

I'm leaning toward reproducing the apron worn by Shirley Temple in a classic movie, I think it was Bright Eyes.
Or, one I saw worn by the nanny in the 2003 movie, Alex & Emma:

Okay, I’ve decided… I’m off to create a pattern… Wish me luck!

I'll post the result when it's done!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back Up and Catch Up

On Friday, September 30th, I did a first! As it worked out, if I was going to attend the State Fair of Texas this year, I had to go it alone. No problem. Rather than driving a vehicle, I rode the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Rail (transferring once) out to the fairgrounds and back. Fabulous! Only way to go in my opinion! While at the fair, I saw my ~ first time ever to enter ~ award winning entries! It was beyond thrilling. I stopped a lady and asked if she’d take a picture of me with my apron… she was almost as excited as I was!

Saturday evening was my 40th High School Class reunion… another event I had to go it alone. It turned out beautifully and I had a great time catching up with my fellow classmates.

Sunday, after a post-class reunion brunch event, I headed back to the country, to my family, and studio. It was great to be home.

The week flew by, preparing for the 17th Annual Herb & Art Fest on Saturday 10/8 in Lampasas, Texas. Well, that didn’t pan out like I’d hoped! Something unusual happened: it RAINED! I quickly (within the first hour!) realized that Aprons, Doll Clothes, Bags, and Books don’t mix well with rain and wind! But, we haven’t received any measureable amount of rain since May and parts of Texas had had horrible wildfires that destroyed almost 2,000 homes during the summer. So the blessed rain (almost 5” worth!) was much more important than any arts/craft show!

After everything thoroughly dried out, I packed away items for the next (indoor) arts/craft show coming up in November! I then created a coupon for my online ArtFire Studio… 15% off total purchase until the end of October! Coupon code is: RAIN (of course)!

Yesterday, I began working on a book I started back on 11/1/2009. I hadn’t touched it, not one word, in over a year. A romance, The Next Time Around, is about a woman whose husband has been missing for years – how she’s coped, what she’s done to help others with missing loved ones. Her sister convinces her to finally have him declared dead and move on with her life, persuading her the next time around will be forever.

This is the working cover (subject to change):

I hope to finish the book by the end of this year and get the story out to my beta readers before turning it in to my editor! It’s doable, if I stay focused! Some have said my writing style is an “easy read” and I like that description. Many have shared they couldn’t the book down once they started reading it! I always love hearing that from readers, too! Anyway... signed copies of my current books, Where Forever Begins (Historical Romance) and Finding Closure (Contemporary Fiction), are available here.

Click on the book covers to read a snippet!

I’m still sewing, too! I have several custom apron orders to create for Christmas! I’m always ready to accept more orders! Just send me an email!

Time certainly flies by quickly when you’re having fun!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Reunion

A wonderful brisk cool morning begins the day I thought would never arrive! Tonight is my High School’s 40th class reunion celebration. Goodness, does that indicate my age, or what?!? I don’t feel like it’s been 40 years, but I know – several lifetimes later ­– it’s the reality. The saying applies: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!
I’m so excited to see everyone again, many not since we walked across that intimidating (for me anyway) stage at SMU and received the scroll in our inexperienced, naive hands! Numerous others have been greatly involved in pulling this event together and we’ve visited over the past year, gotten to know each other again, and many for the first time ever! Even with the small role I played, it’s been a wonderful experience working on the reunion.

Whenever it's your turn for a High School reunion, I would encourage you to participate in the planning, whatever you can do from wherever you are! Thank goodness for the Internet, it helps tremendously in finding classmates! And, it doesn't matter that you might not know anyone or "didn't run around" with the folks starting to gather plans together, High School is OVER. Not one single person on my reunion committee did I "run around with" during high school! I am So blessed to have finally had the opportunity to get to know these lovely people!
After tomorrow morning’s post-reunion brunch, I’ll head back home, to the country – to my studio – and hit the ground running. Next Saturday (October 8) is the first of several upcoming art/craft shows I plan to participate in to sell my wares! Thank goodness I’ve already started different pre-planning lists to keep me focused!

But for today and tomorrow morning ….. the focus is on the reunion!

I hope everyone enjoys today, wherever you are, whatever you're doing!

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