Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tip - Make Your Own Dress Form

The Main Reason Why I Love Facebook: it’s a community of friends helping one another. It’s the support, prayers, and camaraderie we share, quickly closing the separation gap between the sixth degrees. 
 A prime example of this support/camaraderie,
and the separation gap closing,
is shown through a recent conversation. 

A few days ago, a friend ~I met through another friend ~ posted this question on her Facebook wall:
Ok I have a huge favor to ask. Does anyone know somewhere I can buy a dress form for J? She is really getting into sewing and wants one to create more things.
The first comment came from the friend who introduced us:
Lanetta will probably know. you know me, I'd check amazon!
A response came back:
I found some on there and they are around $60 not including shipping. Hoping to find them cheaper but I know thats gonna be hard.
I didn’t see this conversation until the next morning, Saturday morning about 5:00. When I did, I posted this comment:
I've only seen lady sizes! But, I have seen how to make one! Let me do some searching ... be back later!
About twenty minutes later, I posted the comment:
Oh, my! I did a Google search on "How to build your own dress form" ... do you all have any duct tape? Lots of giggles, but they have a great/clever idea! I shared this YouTube link.
A bit later she writes:
Guess what me and J are making today. :)
Within two hours they went shopping, bought hot pink duct tape & some with butterflies, then returned home, and had created the form! It was DONE! I know this timeframe because she posted pictures of the progress/completed J's Duct Tape Dress Form!

Thank you so much, Stacy,
for allowing me to share the pictures!

Rather than using newspapers, or shopping bags, they used old jeans they had readily available to stuff J's body form. After cutting away seams, pockets, zippers, this is what's left over from the six pairs of jeans used!

On Sunday, J’s sweet, supportive dad constructed the perfect stand to hold the dress form:

Happy Camper J is now ready to design her own fashions! Project Runway, watch out!

Do you need a customized dress form? Have a friend over and make one (or two)! Did you know duct tape now comes in fun colors and prints? Check it out!

Even if you don't sew, or you're not a fashion designer like J, I could see using this dress form for several reasons! Especially one: I hate to iron a blouse or dress, just to hang it up on a coat hanger and let it get "hanger nipples" again while I'm getting ready to go out (otherwise, why iron something, right?)!

Would love to hear if you make one! Or, if you have created a duct tape dress form already, please share any suggestions/tips!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Marketing - Aha Moment

Photo by pizzodisevo

Throughout January I read at least a gazillion articles, blogs, and group comments in search of the best marketing strategies for the handmade artisan selling primarily online. I did this to share my findings on Monday Marketing blog posts, and to learn what I could apply at Lanetta’s Creations! It was a mind-boggling, confusing adventure indeed ~ until my aha moment!

This epiphany happened after realizing I was getting thrown here and there, getting more and more confused by everyone’s opinion how best to do this or that! Bottom line, the primary aspect I learned: there is not a single best marketing strategy, especially for the online entrepreneur! The question shouldn’t be: “Will the Best Marketing Strategy Please Stand Up?” as they all have great workable methods!

Photo by uuzinger
It’s mixing it up, combining the “this or that” needed at different times on different products for different targeted audience! This is the KEY to a successful marketing strategy! Got it!

February won’t have any specific “Monday Marketing” posts! Instead, I’m planning a “Monday Mix-Up” of different treasures found on the internet. I’ve shared new-to-me awesome sites before, and the why’s on why I find them amazing. It’s been much too long since I’ve done this! In fact, it was August of last year!

I would love to hear about one of your aha moments! I hope you'll share in the comments!

What about an amazing site I should visit and link up with next Monday? What is your favorite?

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Start Sunday

You need to start somewhere, start Sunday and ...

Photo taken by Lanetta at The Sprott Country Gardens

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Sewing - Embellishment

Two questions are contemplated each time a new project is created at Lanetta’s Creations: what type of embellishment should be added and how much. At times the fabric’s print design with top-stitching is all the embellishing I think is needed. Sometimes the item calls for a bit more to make it that little “extra” to become extraordinary! It’s then the first question must be answered, what type of embellishment should be added?

When I think of embellishments, I think of: ruffles, lace, piping, appliqué, yo-yo’s, fabric paint, buttons, binding, rick-rack, cording, brads, eyelets, ribbon, charms, beads, fringe. Embroidery, smocking, and decorative stitching are also forms of embellishment! What else is there? I know I’m missing some!

Combining different forms of embellishing techniques either on aprons, doll clothes, or bags can be so cool, too! Take the apron designs found in any issue the fabulous magazine, Apron-ology!

By the way, this new issue
is expected
to hit the newsstand
in less than a week!
I can hardly wait!

Anyhoo… right now my focus is not only in searching for more techniques to embellish items handmade at Lanetta’s Creations, but easier ways to apply, helpful hints and tips, and whatever else I can find that will make answering that first question a snap!

Cool techniques using buttons and buttonholes are found at Threads Magazine's site. A must try on an upcoming project!

I’ve never tried Pintucking before, but with the great instructions I found, it's now on my list to learn how to do!

Rather than continuing on here, I’ll keep handy a blog site of embellishment sewing tutorials available around the internet that the author graciously compiled!

What forms of embellishment do you enjoy working with?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun – Shopping

Photo by Coolinsights

What could be more fulfilling than a Friday Fun filled day shopping? Don’t want or need anything? “Window shopping” is also fun because it plants seeds for future gifts ~ upcoming birthdays, special occasions, and Christmas! For which ever purpose, the convenience of shopping without leaving the comforts your home, not having to use expensive gasoline, deal with fighting crowds, or spend precious traveling time, shopping online is an awesome experience!

Besides Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, and of course, my ArtFire store, there’s a new place in town: Pinterest!

Oh my goodness! Pinterest is amazing! If you don’t yet have Pinterest, send me your email and I’ll be happy to send an invite! It will take forever (if ever) if you send them a request to join!

If you are an online business, you may want to check out this informative video:

Once you’re in Pinterest, click on “About” then “Pin It Button” and follow their instructions to add the button to your favorites bar. This button makes it very convenient to “pin” something amazing you found on the internet for future reference. Now to organize your findings, you’ll create “boards”.

You’ll see on my Pinterest site, I’ve created 24 boards. The photo only shows a smidgen worth! I can add more if I have the need.

Besides finding things on the internet, others will also find things and share on their boards! You can “shop” other people’s Pinterest and “repin” something you like. It’s a domino effect… running viral!

Caveat: Pinterest is addictive! Set a timer!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Socrates said:
The secret of happiness, you see,
is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

I KNOW I would certainly develop the capacity to enjoy less if I could work through this mess:

But, I don’t think Socrates was talking about hoarding. Or, maybe he was!

What does his statement mean to you?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips - The Minute Details

The most daunting task of writing a novel is keeping up with the minute details. A reader will catch the slightest contradiction in a heartbeat! Besides pleasing your reader, keeping the minute details straight ~ and easy to find ~ is also a way not to waste precious time going back and searching for something!

After trying a variety of methods, I thought, why not try Microsoft Excel?! It has an unlimited number (I think it’s unlimited) sheets available and I could do one for each character, situation, place – whatever I need! Yes!

Using MS Excel as a way of keeping up with the minute details has been a lifesaver for me, especially because I have several works-in-progress and it keeps me straight! When the characters aren't sharing, I can stop writing on one and pick up where I left off on another. I know I have all the pertinent details needed within a couple of clicks with my mouse.

Example of sheets for WIP = Ella
When I begin a story, I gather images (usually of actors) of folks who my characters will look like and save the picture to MS Excel. Glancing quickly at a picture keeps me from having to "read" the details.

Example of Character for WIP = Ella
Because it's so obvious "Bo" (from Days of Our Lifes) has dark hair and eyes, I didn't waste time making a note. Dates and ages are the important details for his "profile". But when it's not clear, or I want to make a change from the actor for some personal reason, I make a note - like I did for "Patrick Jane, The Mentalist". I also add more details when needed.

Example of Character for WIP = The Next Time Around
Example for WIP = The Next Time Around

Then I find pictures on the Internet of their homes (outside and inside) and maybe an office space, if needed. Their animals are also important!
Example for WIP = The Next Time Around

The possibilities of what to store on the different sheets are ENDLESS! It's whatever you need!

I hope this helps with your tracking of the minute details!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Marketing - Product Photo

In a prior post I began a living list of adjectives: suggested words to use when writing descriptions of our handcrafted products. But our product photos are equally ~ if not more ~ important than the words we use. I would think we have all heard these famous quotes:

A picture is worth a thousand words
You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Before anyone even gets to the point of reading the adjectives we’ve selected, it is the product’s presentation ~ the product photo ~ that grabs their attention! No matter how well we describe the item, the picture itself is worth a thousand words. It’s that first impression that will make them want to read every last detail of our description. Therefore, it’s a must to take amazing product photos!

By no means am I a professional photographer. I know it's a learning process. I constantly read a multitude of articles in search of how-to’s that will help me learn what to do, and what not do, when taking product photos.

With the photo software I use (Paint Shop Pro), I can quickly & easily crop and/or brighten the photo.

Before anything is done:
This is after I cropped and made it a little brighter:
Any other adjustments needed, I ask my sweetie to do it because I haven't a clue how or have the software he does on his computer!

I do know one “what NOT to do” and that’s snapping a picture of ANYTHING straight into the sun or any bright light. I must have the sun or light against my back (or from either side) before I take a picture! I’ve been amazed when I see someone has taken a picture of their product placed squarely in front of a brightly lit window! What a shame! I can’t see their finished product worth a flip!

I guess it's old age creeping in, but I can't free-hand a photo shoot anymore! So frustrating! Fortunately I do have a tripod for my camera and I use it! I want clear crisp pictures, not blurry in the least! My camera also has a timer I can set so I can be totally hands-free whenever it goes off! Big Big difference!

One TO DO tip I recently learned: When naming your product photos, use keywords and include your shop name! Rather than keeping the automatic numbering system the upload process creates, change it! Take the time! Then for a feel good moment do an image search on Google with your shop name! Awesome!

Why re-event the wheel? Timothy Adam Designs has already compiled a Big List of Product Photography Tips! I highly recommend his list! That’s where I’m heading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Start Sunday

Photo by Details.com

Do you need some half-time pump-up to start Sunday, to get this new week off to a great start? Former football coach, Jimmy Johnson, made (what I think is) a profound statement:

The difference between
ordinary and extraordinary
is that little extra.

I like his quote. The pointing out of that "little extra” is such a simplistic truth! It’s the extra effort we put into anything and everything we do that will make us an extraordinary family member, friend, compassionate community member, artist, cook, writer, whatever!

Wouldn’t the words make an awesome print-out and framed as a gentle reminder to have on a desk, or hanging in the kitchen? Maybe it could look something like what I did for my work area:

Just my thoughts...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Sewing

Saturday sewing, or any day spent sewing is a good day! Indeed! Who’s with me?! What sewing projects are you creating? I would love to know!

Where is the pocket?
I mailed off the special order Mardi Gras chef apron yesterday! It took a bit of time to match the pocket to the print, but got it done! During today's Saturday sewing, I should finish a Bitty Baby’s Valentine’s Day doll outfit!

I don’t know about you, but I take short breaks during the sewing process and explore the online world a bit ~ after setting a timer because I have no self-control when it comes to surfing the net! I so enjoy seeing what others are doing!

I'm very excited to find Lillie Mae’s Crafts!

This sweet kind lady offers some lovely FREE patterns to use in creating cute cute items! Great ideas found on her site! If you’re into sewing primitive folk art, check her out! Not only does she have precious designs, the tips she provides will help tremendously as I begin working on my own soft cloth lovelies!

Enjoy the day! Enjoy sewing! It's back to the machine for me!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fun

How can cleaning house be fun? When following the plan, tips, and suggestions found at FlyLady, it becomes no big deal! I love the simple reminders and encouragement she offers. Who is FlyLady? Watch! Get the inspiration! Subscribe!

Do the Super Fling Boogie
Take the baby steps
Head over to the Launch Pad
Find out the Habit of the Month

Fly through what needs to be done to do the things you want ~ without the guilt!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

While watching an episode of Modern Family, I made note of a thought provoking statement:
You see, dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And, the realists? Well, without the dreamers, they might never get off the ground.
Photo by Allison Johnston
Which are you, a dreamer or realist?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How-To Videos for Sewist

I love sharing whenever I stumble across something amazing! Today’s Tuesday Tips are for the Sewist out there! Don’t know about you, but I’m a visual learner and totally appreciate folks who create how-to videos. In fact, I lose track of time watching ~ savoring ~ because I cannot watch just one. It’s like eating a potato chip, one leads to another, then another! Who knows what I’m talking about!?!

This morning, it all started when I discovered the Threads Magazine website. Their videos range from beginner level to experienced wanting/needing a simple refresher or ways to do something differently. Oh my goodness.
Check out the clever technique presented here for creating Two Custom Trims for Your Garments or Home! I’ve seen pricy trims like this, never realizing how simple it would be to create at home! Possibilities are endless using this method to make “loopy seam-tape fringe” and “wild yarn trim” for doll clothes, aprons, and so much more!!! What would you use this on? Pillows?

Another fabulous video from Threads Magazine shares Sally Silvers’ two methods how to create All-in-One Piping and Facing! This was certainly a wow moment whenever two missions can be accomplished once!

Many more how-to videos are available at their site, along with places like YouTube and Google Videos! Try them out! Grab a bag of chips and search “sewing” or “ruffles” or “binding” or whatever you need… you’ll have oodles to watch while you munch!

What's the link to your favorite how-to sewing video?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Going Viral through Social Media

Marketing Monday– 

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson clearly explains Viral Marketing in The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing:
Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence.
The pass on method ~ word of mouth ~ through social media sites is this Marketing Monday’s focus. I believe most would agree that word of mouth advertising is the most creditable form of advertising around.

Photo by Juli Crockett

Viral marketing over the Internet is instrumental in the success of a small online shop. With that said, make sharing a simple click away for your circle of friends to share within places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social media sites!

On Lanetta’s Creations studio page, for example, there are several buttons underneath “Share This Shop” that ArtFire automatically provides. It’s a simple click for folks visiting my shop to share something they find absolutely amazing! Maybe someone isn’t particularly interested in say, Doll Clothes, but they have friends who are collectors of dolls! This sharing can go viral quickly!

Another example is found right here on this blog! In the upper left you’ll see several little icons, places/ways to share! Again, make it easy for your blog's visitors to pass on the information! I used AddThis to grab the buttons! It's easy as pie!

Photo by Dave Duarte

As a producer of Handmade in Texas items, Lanetta’s Creations encourages the pass on of products and articles, to share with others, anytime! It's amazing the technology we have at our fingertips! So, how can/will information on a new product listing or a great blog article spread to millions of consumers? Via an amazing circle of friends over the Internet!
Photo by Eric Chan
Have you shared something today with your circle of friends?

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