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EASY Reversible Headband And Ear Warmer Pattern

Posted By on January 23, 2018

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This has been a very cold winter stretching all the way into “sunny” Florida, where temperatures have been dipping into the teens.  Help!!

Protect your ears with this easy fleece headband/ear warmer combo.

Follow the easy step by step instructions and make several of the headband/ear warmers in no time at all!  Very easy to make and flattering to wear.

The headband/ear warmer takes only a small amount of fleece – you can make them all one color or reversible for two colors to go with more of your outfits.  With the pattern price of only $3.00, you can be ready to head outside and keep your head and ears warm in short order.

I even wear my headband/ear warmer if I’m wearing a hooded coat – keeps the breeze (aka cold air) off my ears! I’ve made a couple reversible ones for myself and love that I can easily change up my cold weather look without taking up a bunch of space!

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Six Success Tips for Sewing Businesses

Posted By on January 16, 2018

1) Find Your Niche

Some people think that focusing on a niche is thinking too small, but having a niche product line is actually a wonderful thing!  If you really want to compete with Sears and Toys ‘R Us, you can do that by offering better customer service or by providing more guarantees, but it is much easier to compete in a specialized niche.  Plus, when you focus on a niche you encourage repeat orders and referral business.

2) Skills & Abilities

You don’t have to be good at every aspect of business in order to be successful, but you do need to be realistic about what your abilities are.  If you’re not very computer literate then take an online class or buy a book, if you’re not very good with numbers and records then hire a part-time bookkeeper, and if you’re not great at writing ads or other sales materials then hire a freelance writer online at Elance.

3)  Use Technology

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to benefit from advances in technology.  Make it easy for your customers to contact you via email, create (or pay someone to create) a website that works for you 24/7, use Google Calendar to keep track of your life on the go, use a fax to email service so you can keep digital copies of everything, and use the Internet to learn about how to enhance your skills and market your business.

4)  Create a Website

Since you can get a domain name for about $10 a year and a website for around $5 a month, there is really no excuse not to have your own website.  Many word processor programs will create HTML pages from documents you’ve typed, and lots of good domain name registrars (we use and recommend GoDaddy) supply website templates that literally allow you to setup your own site over night, without the need for any web design skills.

5)  Positive Thinking

Napolean Hill wrote the all time best-selling business book “Think and Grow Rich” during the Great Depression in 1937.  Over 30 million copies have been sold because of its powerful message about how our thoughts control our successes and failures.  Simply put, whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!  So look at any setbacks as learning opportunities, be persistent, and stay positive and you will be successful!

6)  Build Relationships

Advances in technology like cell phones, handheld games and the Internet tend to take the focus off of people, for example you can order a pizza online or use a board at a fast food restaurant to order then pay with a credit card without ever speaking to a person.  On the other hand, consumers like to feel that they’re being heard.  Build relationships with your customers by giving them the ability to communicate with you through a variety of methods such as via email, through your website, Facebook or Twitter.  By genuinely listening to your customers you will build bonds of loyalty and trust with them, which will only increase the success of your business.

You can get additional information from two of our Business Books —– Jumpstart Your Business….Proven Techniques & Strategies and 501 Tips & Strategies For Home Business Entrepreneurs.   Get your business going this year and make this your most best year ever!

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How To Repair Burns In A Carpet

Posted By on January 9, 2018

This is the time of the year that those of us with woodburning fireplaces can have problems with flying sparks that burn small holes in the carpet near the fireplace.  OR, even those who smoke can drop hot ashes from the cigarette and again singe or burn a hole in the carpeting.  Actually these small burn areas are not difficult to repair.

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The first step in the repair job is to use sharp scissors and cut away all of the damaged pile, or loop, depending on the type of weave.  Snip the pile off as near the rug backing as possible.

Figure 1 shows a cross-section view of the burn before the damaged pile was removed.  Figure 2 illustrates a cross-section view of a burn after the damaged pile has been removed.

If you are fortunate enough to have scraps left from the time the carpeting was laid, you can cut pile from this for repairing.  If not, the pile can be cut from a corner in a closet where it would not be noticable.  The pile to be used for mending should be cut off in the same manner which was used to remove the damaged spot – by snipping it off just above the backing.  Cut the pile in small sections, just two or three tufts at a time.  After cutting, lift them with tweezers and lay each tuft carefully onto a plate or shallow pan so they may be easily carried to the location of the spot to be repaired.  If your rug has several shades of one color in the pattern or more than one color, be sure you cut the correct shade or color of pile to make the repair.

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Glue, the type that is white in the container and dries transparent, is used for the repair.  Use a bottle with a nozzle dispenser and squeeze the glue onto the backing of the rug where the burned pile was snipped away (figure 3).  Be generous with the glue, but also be careful not to get it on the pile around the edge of the hole.   The rug backing will soak up the first application of the glue, so after a few minutes, put on another heavy application and start filling in the hole with the little tufts of pile.  Again use tweezers to handle the pile, and start filling in around the outer edge of the hole, so that the undamaged pile sill support the  tufts which are being carefully set into the glue.

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Keep working round and round setting the tufts in rows (figure 4), working toward the center, until the entire exposed area of the rug backing has been covered with tufts of pile (figure 5).

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It may become necessary to add a little more fresh glue as you work toward the center of the area.

Naturally, you will want to keep any traffic off the repaired spot until the glue has completely dried.  This can be done by placing a small chair, table or even a box or pan over it.

You will be happy to discover that if you repair a burned spot in your rug or carpet in this manner, it will be practically impossible to find where it has been mended and it will sithstand both wear and vacuuming.

WAIT A MINUTE!  Something tells me that this is the kind of repair job that could bring in some extra money!  Whether you actually have a burn hole or not, there are probably dozens of homes in your town or subdivision that DO have unsightly burn holes.  People tend to try to cover the burn spots with area rugs, but the burn hole is there!

The entrepreneur in me says “dig out a small piece of extra carpet, make a burn hole or two, then repair them per the instructions given and become an expert in repairing burn holes in carpets”.

After you’ve become an “expert” in repairing burn holes, put a small classified ad in the local newspaper, put little flyers in fabric shops, dry cleaners, and don’t forget to give information to the local carpet dealers as well.  Figure out how much time it takes to do the repair and charge accordingly.  Some homes may have several burn holes for you to fix, so I’d suggest that you don’t give a repair price over the phone – wait to see how many burn holes there are that need to be repaired, then figure the repair fee.

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Out With The Old – In With The New!

Posted By on January 2, 2018

Have you been satisfied with the progress your business has made this past year?  Have you left too many things “undone”?    Are you constantly trying to put two days’ worth of work into one day and end up getting very little accomplished, and mostly being frustrated?

Now is the time to sit down and think about what is is that you really want?  What is the meaning of success to you?  “Success” is an individual thing, and each person has their own definition of success.  Are you trying to get every customer in town?   Do you try each day to do more alterations or sewing than the day before, or make more craft items in one day than you’ve ever done in the past?  Are you mentally, and physically, pushing yourself over limits that you’ve set for yourself in order to set more unachievable limits?

Perhaps we should all come back to earth and set some new and realistic goals for the new year.  We’ve all heard the statement “success is a journey and not a destination”, and the more I think about that statment the more true it becomes.  If success was the “destination” we’d never make it, however since it is the “journey”, we can set our goals, change the goals somewhat if necessary, and continue to “work our plan” and stay on course to build a solid business.

I’m in no way suggesting that we slack off, get lazy and let “whatever will be, will be” for the new year!  I’m simply saying that we really don’t need to do an overkill in the goal setting that our personal and family relationships suffer, our health suffers and in the end as we look back we have to admit that we ourselves have put so much on our plate that it’s destined for failure.

We can’t change the external forces in our lives such as the economy and personal situations that are going on right now.  However, we CAN change what is inside our head, our hearts and our souls.  We can all look deep inside ourselves and ask the question “what do I really want to accomplish in the upcoming year?”  Write down a listing of what you want to do and accomplish, then start another list breaking down those “want to do’s” with individual goals or steps to take to get you there.  You’ll see that it doesn’t have to be done overnight or within a week — slowly and surely does win the race!  One goal or step at a time will help you reach the first “want to do” on the list, then do the same thing for the next “want to do”, and so on.  Break down the major goal into smaller weekly goals, then into smaller daily goals, and before you know it you will have reached the major goal you were striving for.

Get out the “to do” and “want to accomplish” lists today so you can head into the new year with anticipation and an attitiude of “I can do it”, rather than stumbling into the new year mumbling “I hope things are better this year than they were last year!”

I’ve run across the BEST Blog Planner that I’ve ever seen!  I Love Love Love this planner and I’m already ahead of last year on what my goals are and what I’ll be working on.  I highly recommend this planner for each of you to get the year planned out — and you can easily add or take away or change things as you go on.  Here are a couple pictures of the Planner for you to check out:

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FREE Craft Pattern – Vintage Wrap Collar Apron!

Posted By on December 6, 2017

As the title suggests, the “wrap” collar is just that – a separate collar piece that attaches to the apron with the decorative buttons in the front.

This VintageWrapCollarApron is a downloadable epattern with full size pattern pieces and we’re giving it away for FREE!

This vintage wrap collar apron is a breeze to make – you can make one for yourself and several others for your friends for Christmas!

Vintage Wrap Collar Apron

Don’t forget to check out the other great craft patterns — all at a 25% discount through December 15 using the code CRAFT25.  My granddaughter has been THRILLED with the number of sales of her Narwhal Stuffed Toy Pattern, and she hopes that all the children that get the Narwhal toy for Christmas will love it as much as she does!  She also hopes that some of the children will get to MAKE their own toy.

Narwhal Toy Pattern

 

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Leather and Suede Projects

Posted By on November 28, 2017

I used to think about suede and leather as “impossible” fabrics to work with — hard to handle and expensive.  That was before I started using them.  WOW!  Was I wrong!  There are soooooo many things that can be done with leather and suede — plus my “Sewing With Leather” book also gives ideas of where to get leather FR*EE!  How can you beat a deal like that!

Sewing with leather does not take a special machine; however the materials do require the use of a special “leather” needle in your sewing machine.  The leather needles are easy to find, so you should be all set up to do some leather projects.

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The Sewing With Leather book has patterns and instructions to get you started.  There are easy projects as well as some that are a little more difficult.  And, for those who could use some leather chaps, there’s even instructions on how to make your own chaps.

There is still time to make some leather and suede gifts for those on your Christmas gift list.

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Where Has The Profit Gone?

Posted By on November 21, 2017

If you are one of those who do work for customers, make things to sell at craft shows or make and sell your wares online, AND if you keep track of your expenses and income, you are probably one of many of us who are wondering……. “Where has the profit gone???”

We were a vendor at a craft festival two weeks ago and the very first indication of “reduced” profit was when we paid our entry fee.   The vendor fee had gone up $20.00 – the information/sign up sheet said that the company putting on the festival has had rising expenses, therefore had to increase the fees for each booth space.  Well, $20.00 isn’t really that much money, but if you think about how many extra items that had to be sold in order to cover that amount, it all adds up to less and less profit.

In addition to entry fees getting higher, have you noticed some of the fabrics you use for your craft fair items have also been getting higher?  Thread prices inch up, and if you use things like Velcro, you’re seeing small increases in prices there as well.

We did notice at the festival we attended that while there were supposedly a record number of attendees, we did have a few asking “could you take ____ for a certain item” instead of the regular price.  When we explained that the price on the item IS the price – some bought and some walked.

We have found that one way to help keep prices down and the little bit of profit margin a little higher is to be on the lookout for sales.  For example, we use a lot of solid brown duck fabric, so when JoAnn’s is having one of their 40% off one item or (rarely) 50% off one item, we’ll head in and buy the whole bolt of brown duck fabric.  For those who are quilters, you could do the same with their quilt batting.  Even though you can only buy ONE, it does help cut the cost — and if you make baby / toddler quilts, get the biggest size (queen or king) of the batting and cut it for the sizes you make.

Keep your eyes open for fabric and notion sales — our town had a Walmart that was closing their fabric/craft department and we found out about it too late to get fabrics, but they did have a large variety of thread marked down, so I went through and got all the thread colors we normally use at the discounted price.  I would say here that just grabbing a handful of spools of thread would have been pretty silly, since most of the colors were off the wall colors that were strictly “left overs” that apparently nobody uses — I didn’t want them either, so made sure I ONLY got colors that we use a lot of, and managed to save some money there.

How do YOU cope with the “inching up of prices” and still maintaining a profit margin that you can live with?

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Finding Your Niche Market by Accident

Posted By on November 16, 2017

How can you possibly find a niche market by accident, you ask?

Think about it.  When was the last time you needed or wanted something and couldn’t find it?  I can guarantee that if YOU are looking for something and can’t find it, there are many others looking for a similar item as well!

There is a quote that is definitely worth thinking about:  “Find a need and fill it”.  Looking back over the past few months or the past year, how many times has somebody asked if you know where to find a certain widget, or if it is even available.  Or perhaps you were looking for something special to complete a project you were working on, couldn’t find what you needed, so you “improvised” and then were able to finish the project.  What if you could make and market that item that you “improvised” and be able to make life much easier for hundreds or perhaps even thousands of others.

As a pattern making instructor and pattern designer for over thirty years, I had been designing clothing patterns for full figure and plus size women and hard to fit misses sized women.  After a time I started including clothing patterns for big and tall men which were welcomed by many!

Then came a request from a friend that became a passion for me!  My friends’ granddaughter was VERY overweight – at 10 years of age she had a waist measurement of 32″ and chest of 36″.   There was NOTHING my friend could find in the way of store bought clothing that would fit, plus none of the sewing patterns she tried would fit.  I made a few patterns for my friend, then realized there was a REAL NEED for clothing patterns for overweight, obese and plus size children.

For over a year we collected REAL measurements of overweight boys and girls from our customers – got them all into our database and put together actual measurements of these overweight and obese children.  Using the REAL measurements of these children, I started making clothing patterns, which we called PlusSizeChildren patterns.
Our “accidental” stumbling into this niche market because of my friends’ need for sewing patterns, we now have a big variety of clothing patterns for plus size boys, as well as plus size girls tops and blouses, plus size girls shorts and pants, and plus size girls skirt and dress category.

Again I ask, when was the last time you searched and researched for a particular item to no avail?  Assess your own skills to see if you could fill that particular market with written information, a product that would fill the need, etc.  Perhaps you could work with a friend and do some serious brain storming about the possibilities.  The opportunities are endless!

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25% Off All Craft Patterns! What Are You Sewing For Christmas Gifts?

Posted By on October 31, 2017

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Have you seen our Mermaid Tail Blanket Pattern and Shark and Orca Whale Tail Blanket Patterns?  By far these patterns are some of our most popular craft patterns!  When we made these patterns and blankets, my grandchildren (who you see in the photos) wouldn’t go to bed without their “tail” blankets!  They absolutely LOVE their fancy fleece blankets!

Another all-time favorite is our Children’s Portable Playhouse Pattern.  This pattern was designed to be portable, you simply place the fabric playhouse over a card table, set it up perhaps in the corner of your child’s bedroom or set it up as a temporary playhouse in the front yard.  HOWEVER, the REAL story for my grandchildren and countless numbers of our customers’ children/grandchildren – this became a semi-permanent playhouse set up in the living room.  The kids wanted to LIVE in it — play in it, eat in it, take naps in it and even poke their heads out in order to watch some TV!

There are so many wonderful stories about our craft patterns that our customers have sent in – we could write a book!

Rather than write a book, we’re going to invite you to take a look at some of the great stuff in our craft pattern section like our popular Animal Pals Back Pack Pattern, Animal Pals Sleeping Bag Pattern or Quilted Photo Purse Pattern.  Check out all these great craft patterns to see what might be the perfect item to make for someone special on your Christmas gift list — PLUS we’re going to give you a 25% discount on any craft pattern you add to your cart.  Use the promo code CRAFT25 now through November 30th on any and all craft patterns.

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Tutorial: How To Make A Robot Costume

Posted By on October 23, 2017

My Grandson looks AWESOME in the robot costume he actually made (with a little help from Mamaw, of course!)  This project is a “no-sew” creation and simple and quick to make!

Items needed: 1 large clear gift bag (for the body), 1 medium size silver gift bag (for the head) and lots of cool stickers!  First thing to do is remove the handles from the bags, since you’ll be making a robot “body” and “head”.  This costume would fit a child between the ages of 4-6 easily, of course depending on the size of the child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my boy – the clear gift bag on the table and his HUGE sheet of assorted stickers.  He stuck nearly all of the stickers on the front and back of the clear bag.  We then cut a hole in the “bottom” section of the bag so it would go over his head and of course cut armholes in both sides so it would fit over his body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we took the mediuim size silver gift bag and held it up to his face to see where the eyes/nose/mouth would be, then cut out a cute little area for his face.  We then made a sign, “I Am A ROBOT”, just in case people couldn’t tell!   He also had been coloring the nice eagle picture, so wanted to put it on his robot “chest”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my handsome robot – all ready for the big day!!!

 

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