Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thirsty Thursday

tonight we're headed to a baseball game and the theme is "thirsty thursday". in this spirit, here are some great etsy finds:

yep, some good stuff here. tonight is gonna be fun, and i am glad tomorrow is a day off :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HomeStudio: scrabble tile pendant

the other day on etsy, i came across the shop HomeStudio who makes these awesome little pendants from scrabble tiles! while there were, like, a million i wanted to purchase, i limited myself to 4 (they have special 3 and 4 pack deals!), one for myself, and three to give as gifts.

pick in the gifts was the easy part, but for myself, not so much. i realized i really wanted a sewing machine. so i convo'd the shop, and Mark there promptly convo'd me back saying that he had a b/w antique-y looking one that he could do. perfecto!

check it out:

if you order the pendant with a chain, it comes with a ball chain, but i put mine on a box chain i already had:
thanks Stef and Mark at HomeStudio! (i litereally wear this everyday!)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

50 Best Websites: in love with etsy!

OMG - thanks Diana for finding this great video about BROOKLYNRehab and Etsy today on's 50 Best Websites:

til next time...

Monday, August 24, 2009

remember that To Do List?

the Toot Sweet relaunch is coming, and no one is more excited that yours truly! so remember that list of stuff i had to do before i could relaunch? let me jog that memory of you (teal=completed with notes, pink=still need to get to that):

♥ make a new lightbox - bigger, better, more kitten-proof! i'm thinking either one like this or like this. then take new pics of the inside of my bags.
→ Done and Done. see the results here and here. (the second link is to a listing that includes a pic of the inside of the bag. i did this with all of my bags.)

♥ order new business cards with my new motif
→ Done! check out my new motif on the banner at the top of my blog, and if you bump into me on the street (or purchase from me) you'll get to see how the business card turned out! (thanks to HappyDayGraphics for designing my new motif!)

♥ go thru my whole sewing room and organize, label, purge old stuff
→ Done! i should have taken before shots, because if i post after shots now, they are pretty meaningless, but nonetheless here's a rundown of what i did: donated all fabrics i will not use, sorted all notions into bins, labeled everything, switched my full-sized ironing board for an over-door model (clears a huge area in the room!), and reorganized inventory.

♥ promote! advertise in local coffee shops and businesses, plus post on other etsians' blogs. and tweet tweet!

♥ revamp the format of my listings and tags and the way i list items - i'm thinking database

♥ offer free shipping!! woo hooo!!
→ Done! check out my shop to cash in on this!

♥ photo-swatch each of my available fabrics and upload to my fabric site- this will make choosing fabrics for custom bags super-easy!
→ Done! check it out here.

and here's a few more i thought of:

♥ design care instructions, shipping labels, order forms, and coupons and have printed.

♥ get all books in order. this will be a big task!

alright, looks like i have the rest of my work cut out for me!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Lift with your Legs

back in May, i was in a car accident where i was rear-ended by a vehicle much larger than my own. since then, i have had back pain and had to go to physical therapy in order to rehabilitate. if you've ever had a back injury, you know what it means - you pick things up off the floor with your toes so you don't have to bend over and even brushing your teeth hurts like heck.

now that i am almost 100%, the whole ordeal got me thinking about how i have coped over the past few months and how i am going to be better to my body in the future. here are my findings:

1) lift with your legs. we all know this one. don't bend at the waist to lift, rather squat down, grasp, lift. this includes but is not limited to: boxes, children, pets, bolts of fabric, etc.

2) ergonomics are your silent friend. i had a ergonomic evaluation of my workspace at my day job. it resulted in a switch-er-oo of my traditional computer desk to a "sit-n-stand" air-touch table that can elevate or lower with minimal (and i mean minimal) pressure. standing relieves the pressure in my back, plus it has been shown that alternating between sitting and standing causes less fatigue that just sitting alone or standing alone:
(note: these are stock images, i cannot take a picture of the actual desk because i cannot bring a camera to work with me. and the woman in the first photo is sitting ergonomically wrong, but that is besides the point.)

3) level it out. in my sewing workspace at home, i put my cutting table on bed risers so it would be at a better level for standing at. since i sometimes work there for prolonged periods, i also put a bar stool beside it so that i can perch on it if i feel the need.

this is how i've been coping, and it's been a great help in my recovery process since my injury!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

DIY dishwasher indicator

james and i have been having some issues lately with trying to remember/communicate whether the dishwasher is currently loaded with clean dishes or dirty dishes. since the dishwasher is magnetic, i decided a magnet indicator was in order.

i decided also to show you how to make one for yourself! this only took me about 20 minutes (takes me longer when i photograph); it would be a great project to do with kids and to personalize as you like!

1) choose an unused magnet off the fridge (reuse!)

this one looks good (it's my high school hotline number...i graduated quite some time ago and live about 5 states away...perfect!)
2) gather your supplies: mod podge, sponge-brush (sorry it has paint residue on it), scissors/paper cutting tools, brownish paper, white paper (plus stamps and pads, we'll see these later)
3) cut white paper to proper width. you'll only be covering half of the magnet with each color.
4) glue the white paper to the magnet.

5) repeat the cutting and gluing with the brown paper.

this is what you should get:
6) here's where you can really personalize it. i got out the stamps! i wanted to keep it sweet and simple, so i used my lil' letter stamps:

7) stamp "CLEAN" on the white side of the magnet:
8) stamp "DIRTY" on the brown side, upside-down from the word "CLEAN". that way when you have clean dishes in the dishwasher, you face the "CLEAN" side of magnet up (so it can be read), or visa-versa when the dishes are dirty.
you should now have this:
you can really do anything on either side! a little picture of stacked dishes versus dirty dishes would be cute, use your imagination!

here's mine in action:
shoot - now i have to unload the dishwasher...


Friday, August 14, 2009

reduce - reuse - recycle - ship!

as you know, i got married recently, and we were very blessed to have received many beautiful gifts from our doting friends and family. we registered at both macy's and bed, bath, and beyond. i tell you this not because we have an incomplete registry (you know you've been stocking up on those bb&b 20% off coupons!) but because it leads into my weekend craft project for tootsweet.

"crafts??" you say, "but i thought tootsweet was about sewing purses and whatnot..??" well, my dears, it is. BUT being the recycling waste-not-want-not fool that i am, i saved ALL of the beautiful purple paisley swirly wrapping paper that our gifts came wrapped with, in hopes of doing something fabulous with it. (i mean, look at it, how could i not??)

and i came up with....BUBBLE MAILERS!! that's right, it's simple, it's easy, it's sooo pretty! and here's how you can do it at home too:

1) collect your supplies:
that's bubble wrap, spray adhesive, scissors, wrapping paper, and brown scrap paper to spray on (plus you should do this in a well ventilated area. i did it on my back lanai)

2) be sure to have a friend to pop the extra bubble wrap for you :)

3) cut a piece of bubble wrap approx. 16 inches by 24 inches. lay that out on the wrapping paper and cut the paper such that there is a one-inch perimeter around the bubble wrap.

4) spray the back side of the wrapping paper with the spray adhesive.

5) place the bubble wrap in the center of the wrapping paper. carefully press it down - don't pop any of the bubbles!

6) fold the paper/bubble wrap fusion in half, bonding three sides of the paper perimeter.

7) be sure to leave one side open so you can stuff it for mailing!

8) cut the edges flush for a cleaner look.

9) voila! cute and pretty REPURPOSED bubble mailers!

hope this help spark your creativity :)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Handmade Wedding Part II: Bridesmaid gifts!

so it's time for my next edition of my diy wedding - bridesmaid gifts!

of course, a gift made with my hands is much more from my own heart than something bought from a store. now, this may not be the case for you, but my friends know me well enough that it would have been weird for them to receive a gift that wasn't handmade (they have gotten many over the years, some a little too "creative" to be considered cool).

i decided to go a somewhat trendy route and made each of them a "wedding day survival kit". it consisted of:

a heart-felt thank you note :)
1 large tote beach bag (that i embellished with each girl's monogram)
1 bottle of watter
1 back of chips
1 granola bar
1 "airplane bottle" of their fave spirit
1 pair of flip flops
1 handmade makeup bag, containing: mouthwash, lip gloss, hand sanitizer, Q-tips, safety pins, bobbie pins, and lotion

i made each girl the make up bag in a color/pattern scheme that i knew they would love. i even made my friend P's with a remnant from the skirt i had made for when i stood in her wedding. ::tear::

the girls loved these, and i loved that i could give them something that i made with love :)


Monday, August 10, 2009

New Lightbox - DIY!

remember that list i had of all the stuff i had to do before i could relaunch Toot Sweet!? well check this one off: i made a new lightbox!
it cost me:
$13 plastic bin
$.88 poster board
$9.84 x 2 clip lamps
$6.72 daylight lightbulbs
$40.28 TOTAL

not bad! considering for the size i need to photograph my handbags, i was looking at $60-$100 just for the light tent - i'd still have had to purchase the lamps and bulbs on top of that!

here's the result:

i got the metal clip lamps, as the plastic ones have broken on my in the past. i like the fact that this is a translucent bin - it's solid so the kittens can tear it and i can prop or store it where ever i need to without ricking damage. plus it's opaque enough to where i don't need a sheet over it to diffuse the light.

and here is one of the awesome pictures i cant take in it:

all i had to do to adjust this picture was crop and hit "auto-contrast" in Picasa. to give a point of reference, usually, i have to adjust the fill-light, shadows, highlights, color temp (because normal lightbulbs make the pics very yellow), and sharpen the image*

*the reason i don't have the sharpen the image is because my camera is more steady due to the use of a tripod, which i bought off for about $40 (you can get them cheaper, but i liked the reviews for the one i bought the best - always read reviews!)

hope this helps with you out there who need a lightbox alternative!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

was it any different?

Ah, the swinging sixties. the hippie era. free love and mod fashion. let's face it - i'm young. i'm don't know much about the 60's, but when it comes to style, no one can say that Twiggy didn't have it going on.

so as i'm preparing for the Toot Sweet! relaunch, i'm working with a graphic designer on a new logo for TS!, as well as banner, avatar and business card design. the logo will go on all printed material - this is how i will brand myself.

these pics are the ones i sent to my designer as ideas to work from. for the logo i'm thinking of a drawn mod girl holding a handbag, maybe wearing big sunglasses and being all Twiggy-esque. then having some mod-ish flowers in the background, but washed out a bit. since i already have turquoise and deep purple as accent colors (white and black mainly), i'll keep with those colors for my brand.

i'm really excited - aren't you?