Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What do I want from my business?

I'm up late watching a new business lecture on Etsy. It's presented by Tara Gentile and Megan Auman, two bright and bubbly ladies who have a fantastic enthusiasm for teaching business philosophy and practicalities to craftspeople like me. They are AWESOME.

Tonight they're teaching me about earning money and pricing for profit. It seems that my attitude towards earning reflects several different things: what I learnt about money when I was growing up; how I perceive the value of hand making goods from home; my deep down attitudes to earning money by doing something I love and enjoy; how I feel about myself and my personal worth; and maybe a few other things that I can't yet put into words. Tara is encouraging me to think about my 'money story', to get it out in the open and to change the way I view money so that I can take a more positive approach to pricing, earning and using it. I like this idea. It makes a lot of sense to me.

As does Megan's way of viewing and calculating product prices. She talks about value - not value as in 'bargain' like I tend to think of it (that is totally ingrained in me!), but value as in 'valuable - worthwhile'. I think the phrase ' value for money' has a lot to answer for in creating the misconception that if you buy something at a low price you're getting greater worth. (I'm not sure if how I said that makes any sense.) Anyway, Megan turns the situation around and asks what perceived value the customer will find in the item they buy from me, eg. years of looking and feeling awesome swishing and swashbuckling around, playing at living life in 'the good old days'. It's an interesting way to look at your own goods, I guess because you don't see them that way yourself.

This is lots of food for thought for me, which I'll probably be munching on for a good while. I hope it's low-cal!!

Here's the link if you'd like to check it out:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Here are some pictures, as promised. There are more in an album on my Facebook page: (If you're not on Fb but would like to see the other pics, just let me know and I'll send them to you :) )

I found the pattern for this project over at The tutorial tells you how to make the armrest pincushion itself, but the block designs are up to you. I'm loving it!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Hey hey y'all, how you doin'?

I've been a little laid up these last few weeks with my stupid all-tired-out-ness, so I've mainly been working on small projects that aren't too taxing, like small quilting blocks. Quilting and patchwork for the sake of it is pretty new to me, being from a garment making background, so it's been kind of a strange transition into making something that is almost purely decorative. Somehow it seems wasteful to me to not be able to wear the finished product! To ease myself in I've been working on a much needed pincushion/pocket thingy to go over the arm of the couch - very useful for all the tons of hand sewing I do. It has five 6 1/2" square patchwork blocks and a lightly quilted pincushion, so I'm trying out various block designs that I've never done before, plus one that I have: the Japanese scallop/shell one. (I have no idea what it's called, but the look of it has always appealed to me and I've used it before in textile design work with City & Guilds.)

My pincushiony thing has black as it's base colour and two particular patterned fabrics that I'm working the colours around - one is little purple and green golfers on an off-white background and the other is a collection of brightly coloured cartoon style bits of sewing room equipment on a black background. Then I have some burgundy roses on off-white and three different pieces of Christmas fabric, left over from making gift bags. I'll put some pics up soon so you can see what I'm talking about.

So far I've made a fan block, inspired by my visit to The American Museum in Bath a few weeks ago. They have a stunning fan quilt on display, which my friends and I loved and tried to take photos of, but to no avail. Fuzzy wuzzy photos. What made that quilt stand out for me was the black background, the bright fabrics applied to it, and the simple but highly decorative embroidery in every blank spot, nook and cranny and all along most of the fan seams. Absolutely gorgeous. It was like a sampler, but a useful sampler. All those stitches you'd love to try out but never seem to find the right home for, here it is. The perfect place to let your imagination run wild. Countless different stitch and colour combinations were represented in this one quilt. It blew me away. I thoroughly enjoyed making my little one.

Then I made a selvedge block. Very cool concept, using the cast-offs from the very fabric you're making the rest of your project from. That features some embroidery now too. Just a bit of feather stitch, you understand...

And now I'm working on a Granny's Garden of lovely hexagons. Well, I hope they're hexagonal enough to join together neatly. I freehanded it. Shrug. I remember Mum teaching me how to patchwork with hexagons when I was little. I made a pincushion :)

The Japanese shell/scallop thingamy one is sitting here waiting to be stitched. I'll have to cut a couple more pieces first, but it's looking pretty good. Maybe I'll embroider all over it!

Catch ya later!

:) V