Craft Shows

{Craft Fair Prep} What’s happening in my studio?

Yesterday was so freakin’ fantastic.  Desperately in need of more prep time before next weekend’s big craft fair, I took a day off work without pay (because I’m low on vacation time).  I spent the day and night sewing, and though I went to bed that night with an aching back and pin-pricked fingers, it felt good.

I discovered my computer has a camera that takes collage photos 🙂

I already know that ideally I’d like to build  a small company where I design products, and have my employees produce them (because I don’t want to spend all day every day hunched over the machine) but you have to start somewhere, and put in the hard work yourself.  And it was fun, sitting there by the open window, listening to a combination of thunder, rain, and some fantastically loud dance tunes.  I was seriously on fire!

The funny thing was, I was way more productive than I am on weekends – and I think it was all about my state of mind.  I simply approached Wednesday as if it were a true working day, where I had to work from morning to night; not a weekend where I “hoped to get work done.”  Does that make sense?  It’s silly, but true – and it’s something I want to remember for future “working weekends” so that I can maximize my productivity.  There was also something invigorating about the knowledge that, if I do a good enough job, that truly *could* become my typical work day.

These guys certainly would like for that to be a typical work day.  They have a lot more fun (or so they think) when someone’s home with them to let them in and out  about 20x a day.  And when they’re not busy going in and out, or barking at the mail man, they are happy just being my cheerleaders:

Back to the work day.  I finished up a ton of fun and colorful throw pillows – all the while remaining impressed with my self-taught invisible zipper skills.  Mad skillz, yo.

While working, I enjoyed the fruits of my new organizing labor.  What organizing, you may wonder?  Well even though it’s not readily apparent, I implemented a bit more of a system for product creation.

I had all these stacks of pillow covers in various stages of completion – and finally I realized that I should create labeled spots for them.  The only open space was on the top of my shelving unit:

Because time was of the essence, I didn’t go for a fancy, blog-worthy approach – I just made my piles, and then labeled them with some tape and a marker.  “Ready to sew”   “Piece Together”  “Zipped”  “To Finish” and then scraps.  I’m temporarily using a few cardboard boxes (which I have collected for a fun new up-cycling project!)  to keep things sorted, as you can see.

Another part of the day was spent dissecting ugly old blazers and suit jackets.  (This task is especially productive when paired with episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix. )  Wait, what?

That’s right, I’m totally reincarnating ugly 1980’s style powersuits as fun, modern pillows (and other things).  Finally, there’s a good use for those women’s 2XL fuschia and orange blazers that go to Goodwill to die.  And yes, I’m watching Ally McBeal.

I thought this nubby maroon blazer went particularly well with the modern Calliope  print by Jessica Jones.  Isn’t it a fun combo?

I haven’t photographed many of the products yet, but here’s just a bit of a teaser.

I’m loving playing around with collage pillows, where I use strips of different fabrics.  This one is made with various Japanese fabrics as well as some cotton velvet:

A gratuitous shot of my sexy lil’ invisible zipper   🙂

I also used some of that Japanese fabric to make some fun little sunglasses cases.  Actually, they’re not so little.  I sized them a bit bigger and wider than you might be used to – because I was tired of finding cases that were too narrow to hold my big, wide sunglasses – you know how the big fat glasses are so popular right now.

I also made some cases from scraps of felted (shrunken) wool sweaters and quilting cottons.  I LOVE them.  Big-fat-sloppy-wet-kisses love them.

Let’s take a moment to talk about this item. I had NO intentions of making sunglass holders. None whatsoever. But I just was inspired one day, and grabbed some scraps and played around.  And I had so much fun, and the idea worked, so I decided to make more.  I really love mixing and matching fabrics and textures, and finding new uses for old fabrics.

And speaking of reusing old fabrics, would you like for me to share some tutorials for making items like this in the future?   I’d really like to learn how to make patterns, actually, because a part of this process that I like the most is the figuring-out of how to create things.

And. . . now this blog has gone down the path of rambling.  Perhaps that’s a cue for me to end it . . . and get back to sewing.  Or making dinner.  I have no idea where Ryan is, I came home from work and thought he was on a conference call in his office, but I just checked and he’s no where to be found.  His car is in the driveway. So I think I’ll make bacon-wrapped chorizo sausage. Yes, you read that right.  Bacon-wrapped-sausage. It was that kind of day.  And we have both in the fridge.

Next up:  I’ll share how I’ve created a simple little inventory system to track items and prices.

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  • Reply Jennifer Laughlin at 11:28 pm

     Ohmygosh I love all of them!!!!!! That fabric is spectacular! and i’m beyond impressed with those mad zipper skills dawg =) m wah!

  • Reply Jen on the Edge at 11:38 pm

    I’m glad you had such a good day. Everything you’re making looks so great!

  • Reply Kerri P. at 12:01 am

    Ahhh I love everything!!

  • Reply Jennifer McCormick at 12:43 am

    Oh wow! All of it is AWESOME! I LOVE that your repurposing old suits … genius! 

  • Reply Crys Perkins Photography at 12:40 pm

    insanely mad zipper skills…i’m impressed 🙂

  • Reply mikalah at 12:43 pm

    I love this post! I feel like I just talked to you on the phone. =) I LOVE the stuff you are making! Your invisible zipper skillz are to die for! And those sunglasses cases? Um, genius! I too have found that most cases are just way too small for my favorite sunglasses. I would love to see a tutorial. Especially on the hidden zippers, if you are willing to share your secrets. =)

    I love chorizo! It’s guilty pleasure food (at least, the stuff we buy is!) but a little bit of it on some rice is so amazing. Yum yum! I’m just so happy for you that you enjoyed your day off from “work” and were able to get so much done for the craft fair. Happy sewing my friend!

  • Reply Tiffany Leasure at 6:27 pm

    Love your fabrics! Will some of these goodies be in your Etsy shop??? {For those of us who can’t make it to the craft fair} 

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 7:43 pm

      Tiffany – Absolutely!
      Well, the real answer is – sort of. I’m going to launch an independent web
      store where I’ll list everything that doesn’t sell at the craft fair ( and I’ll be talking more about that vs. Etsy next week (or
      the following week, if next week is a disaster 🙂

      But before the craft fair I’ll be documenting every product with photos,
      etc, so I can re-make any items that sell out.

      Thanks for asking!

  • Reply Lauren @ Our Big Fat Farm Wed at 7:56 pm

    I am loving all of your work! Keep it up. I am feeling quite guility after reading, though. I took a no pay day off today and I am still in my jammies. You, my bloggy friend, are a rockstar!!

  • Reply Christine Tremoulet at 8:24 pm

     Love the sunglass holders, and the pillows too! Already dreaming of which ones might look good in our new house…

    FYI, my email to you inspired a much longer blog post. (I added to the list.) Thanks for the inspiration, and my blog appreciated the update! Haha! 😉

  • Reply Ashley @ at 9:21 pm

    LOVE everything you made!  totally awesome and adorable and great fabrics!!!

  • Reply Kelly at 3:16 pm

    Nicely done!  Looks like you got a TON of work finished.  YAY!  

  • Reply LifeinRehab at 3:58 pm

     Looks like you’re about stocked up, and wow, do you have some gorgeous things for the fair!

  • Reply Kristy at 3:53 pm

    What a great studio!  And, what great projects!  I love your creations.  That invisible zipper rocks!

  • Reply Cat A. at 7:04 pm

    Your studio is AH-MAZING! Have an awesome time at the craft fair!!!

  • Reply myhonestanswer at 1:38 pm

    Great job! Check out my new lighthearted blog

    Keep up the good work and thanks for all the tips! 

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