Tag Archive | charity

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #1

IMG_1665Last month, I was asked to be the featured artist of the month, displaying my amigurumi’s, for a downtown business during their monthly art walk. I did not have to sell my amigurumi’s, just display them as art works, but I could sell them if I wanted to. As I looked around the house at the many amigurumi’s I had made that still needed a home, and seeing that I needed to purchase another bag of stuffing after completing Kevin the Moose and Porcine the Pig, I decided I would sell some of my amigurumi’s if anyone was interested.

I wandered around the house gathering up all the amigurumi’s I had recently completed. The pile included the amigurumi’s that I considered mine, like Roxie and Red the cows, Sara the dinosaur, T-Bone the skeleton, and the DSCN0300 - Version 2husband’s ninja army. I did not really want to sell MY amigurumi’s but they would be nice to have in the display as fill in’s so I stuffed the pile of amigurumi’s into four garbage bags. I had no idea what to price my amigurumi’s for, so I priced them based on the supplies that would be needed to make them again, and how complicated each one was to make, plus a little extra cost for the ones I did not want to really part with. I also decided to have a raffle for a Snowman blanket that was made many years ago, and to give the proceeds from the raffle to a local charity. The last preparation for the show was to make a portfolio of my work so people could see what I do. I decided to include some of my sewing projects, the little dresses that I have been sewing, some baby sleepers and blankets, and some of the kid’s t-shirts I have made in the portfolio. I would not have these sewing items in my art display since I just had a small display space, but if someone was interested in them, I would certainly be willing to sell them.

DSCN0302The day of the show, I arrived early, excited to set up my display. The husband thought it would be best to set my display up on the sidewalk in front of the business rather than inside the business and I agreed. The weather also co-operated and was a gorgeous fall day for an art show. I purchased some 12 packs of soda pop to make a stair stepped display for my amigurumi’s and then I covered the boxes with some fabric to make it presentable. With my amigurumi’s all out on display, I waited for potential customers to walk by and view all of my lovely creations.

DSCN0215After a few passerbys, my first customer arrived. He was out walking his dog. Guess which amigurumi’s caught his eye? Yup, you guessed it, Snoopy and Woodstock. If I sold only one item, why did it have to be a Snoopy? He wanted to purchase the last Snoopy that I had made and the Woodstock who was supposed to go with the other standing Snoopy that I had made and brought for the show. Whether this Snoopy was officially mine or needed to go to a good home, when the idea of parting with him was on the line, he immediately became MINE and I really didn’t want to let him go. When the man asked me how much, I gave him a higher price than he probably needed. Now it wasn’t a preposterous price or anything, but one I thought was higher than I would get for a crocheted Snoopy. But what shocked me even more was when he said very simply “Sold” without even trying to bargain with me! What? My Snoopy! Not my Snoopy! What had I done! I could not part with a Snoopy! The husband took the money from the man and I placed the Snoopy and Woodstock in a bag for him. Tears started to well in my eyes and I could not believe that I had sold a Snoopy that I had made to a stranger. What on earth was I doing? Oddly enough, this man seemed to understand, but then what did I expect from a fellow Snoopy fan? He explained how excited he was with his purchase and that he was going to take them right home and place them on his desk, easing some of my separation anxiety. As he walked away, I could tell the Snoopy and Woodstock were going to a good home.

P1040374Over the years I have given away many of the amigurumi’s I have made, and I have never had any problems parting with them before. I guess this was because I knew who they were going to or I had made a specific item for a specific person. This was different though. I was selling my work for money and had no idea who was taking them or if they would be in a good home or not. But, after I watching the Snoopy and Woodstock leave, the selling of my other amigurumi’s became easier. In fact, I had to use a little salesmanship at some points during that night. “Hello there! You look like you need a penguin?” “Don’t pass by without seeing the dragon!” Some sales were easier though, as “I just MUST have that monster! It’s so CUTE!” came from one customer that stopped by. And away she went with a homemade monster amigurumi. And so it went on into the beautiful fall evening…

I have more to say about the art show, but I will stop here for now. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on!

At The Closing of the Year

P1020758As much as I hate to see the year end, I am also excited by the renewal that the new year brings. It is a fresh start. A time of hope. A time of empowerment. My ambitions are high. And I feel like I can do anything I want at this point.

And, with all of this excitement coursing through my veins, I have set only one sewing goal for this new year.

TO GET CONTROL OVER MY FABRIC STASH.

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Sure. It sounds simple you say, but you have to understand just how out of control the stash is. Because of where I live and the fact that I must travel great distances to get to any sort of real fabric store, I must have a stash of fabric on hand. When I want to start my next project, I can’t just run down to the local fabric store and pick out some fabric and notions for that project. There is no local fabric store to run to. My stash is my local fabric store. So, when I make it to a fabric store, and see a piece of fabric that I might want to use to make something at some point in the future, and especially if it is a good price, I must pick it up. NOW! And this is why I have such a large stash of fabric. Well at least this is my justification for the stash.

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P1020761Seriously though, I like every other fabriholic love to get a great deal on some nice new fabric. And I just love to make a shirt with $2 dollar a yard fabric and then brag about how the buttons cost more than the fabric used in the shirt. I just love to touch and feel all of the wonderful pieces of fabric I see at the store, and then to purchase and own them. I wonder sometimes if my hobby is not sewing but instead the practice of collecting fabric, patterns, and notions. I love to add a new piece of fabric to the stash. It enters the stash with such possibilities of someday becoming a great sewn up master piece of art. And I love to buy patterns for just $0.99 a piece. They fill me with hope that someday I will make a fabulous item from them.

And then every once in awhile, the reality of it all sets in…

Somedays I wish there was really such a thing as Fabriholics Anonymous…

I have been collecting fabric to add to the stash for over 25 years now. And yes, I really do still have some of the original pieces that started in the stash back then. I remember the first move the husband and I made together after we had graduated from college. The stash was at that time just 12 apple boxes in total, and that included the notions and sewing machines.

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Wow!

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P1020763The stash now encompasses several large closets and over the last few years has leaked out from those, piling itself against walls and into every empty corner I can find. The stash is so disorganized now that the throw it and run method has been my way of managing it over the last couple of years. Recently, when I have purchased a new piece of fabric, it stays in its bag and is just tossed onto one of the piles. There is no organizing it with other matching fabrics so it can be retrieved easily later when needed. And my latest love of crocheting amigurumi creatures, has not helped the issues with the stash either. The fabric stash has now just taken on yarn too, and this is only adding to the current problem. And so this is why I have to say, the time has come to finally do something about the stash.

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Back when the stash was only at 12 boxes, it was completely under control and organized. I knew what I had and where to find it. The boxes were carefully curated and labeled. It was easy to look over the boxes and know just where what I would need was at. As the years have progressed I had always been able to keep up the organization of the stash, but in the last few years, I have totally lost control of it. I now have to spend huge amounts of time to hunt for every piece of fabric that I think I have and that I think would work for every new project I start.

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This is not working for me anymore. I need to get control of the stash and fast!

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So, how am I going to complete this goal, and get the stash under control? I have decided it will take 3 steps.

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1. Part with what I’m not ever going to sew something with and then organize the rest. I have finally found a local charity that would just love to have all the fabric and notions that I am not going to use. They will take it and put it to good use. This will be the divide and conquer part of the goal, to go through all the boxes and piles and have an open mind as to what to keep and what to give away. The organizing will occur during this stage too. I will then re-box all of the fabric in the stash so I know what I have and where it is at. I am not going to spend my time making spread sheets on my computer of what fabric I own to help me organize the stash. I think doing that would take a lot of time and not really help me out that much in the end. I think just having similar fabric and similar colors in their own boxes with proper labeling on the boxes will do more to help me find just the right piece of fabric to sew next. The husband has offered to build customized modular shelving to help this step if needed. I am unsure yet if I do but I all let you know later how it turned out.

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2. Sew up what I’m keeping. Stop letting all the wonderful pieces of fabric that I have in my possession just set in the stash. Get them out and sew them up and make them into wonderful things. I started doing this last year and I had a lot of fun with it as I made sleepers, and kid’s shirts from patterns that I forgot I even owned. The local charity will also take my finished items and give them to people who really need them and can use them. That way I don’t have to limit what I make to just things for me and the husband to wear.

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3. Stop adding to the stash. This will be the toughest step of all. This is not going to be fun or easy. I know I am going to hate it, and do the “Oh but its just one piece” or “Oh but it’s such a nice piece of fabric at such a great price” and “Oh but I can make …” but I will have to find the strength and willpower to turn and run away from it. With that, I have decided that it will be easier to just not see it in the first place. So, no more perusing Fabric Mart’s web site, no more stopping in at M&L fabric just to see what’s in the $2 a yard bins, and no more slipping over to Walmart’s fabric department to browse while the husband is in electronics. No more. (Except for interfacing, I will allow myself to go to a fabric store and buy interfacing. For some reason I can’t seem to keep the right type or amount in stock in the stash.)

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So, there is the New Year’s goal and the plan. I am excited to get started on it even though I think it will take a few months to finish it. And yes, I know it will take away from the precious little free time I have available that I could be sewing, but having the stash under control will enhance my sewing experiences in the future. So I am ready to dive in head first on the hope of a brighter future!

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Have a Happy New Year everyone! I hope you and yours have a great one!

Stealing From Goodwill

I didn’t mean to do it, but the fabric kept calling to me. This piece of grey fabric with black rose buds was found in the mystery boxes I was sorting through earlier and it had made it’s way to the Goodwill box. This fabric was originally purchased and put in the stash to be a shirt for me long ago. When I pulled it from the box it had spent so many years in, I could no longer see me wearing a shirt made from it. Although it is the right color for me, the little flowers just did not appeal to me any longer, so into the Goodwill box it went.

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While the fabric was in the Goodwill box, it kept catching my attention until my creative mind just took off with it. Just because I did not want to wear tiny flowers did not mean that some little girl would not just love to wear them. I began to see a little girl’s dress with an embroidered design on the front made from it in my mind’s eye, so I pulled it out of the box and got to work on it..

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I decided to make a size 5 (small) dress. Since the fabric was originally purchased for me a shirt there was plenty for any size I wanted to make. I went to my pattern box and picked out a basic dress pattern, a bodice with a gathered skirt. Because the fabric was a woven cotton instead of a knit, I knew I had to make some way for the little girl to get it on because it wouldn’t stretch. Since I was not in the mood to play with a zipper, I decided to do a slit in the back with a button. And I wanted to keep the front left open for an embroidery design. Because of the grey fabric, I knew the embroidery design would need to be bright and full. But when I saw the black Mickey and Minnie Mouse red work outline design, I knew that was the design I wanted to use. This design absolutely would not work on the grey fabric so I decided to make the front and back of the bodice in white.

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With the basic design in mind, I cut out the dress and got started. I embroidered the design first with the black bobbin thread which you know worked great. I decided to double the bodice instead of making a facing. The white fabric I picked for the bodice is thin so I figured it would work as a lining as well. For the slit in the back, I drew a line in the center back about 2 & 1/2 inches long. I then sewed down each side of the line, tapering at the end. It worked great. I got the results I wanted and only had to stitch it once. I about fell off my chair at this point, since I figured I would be unpicking and restitching the slit at least 3 times to get it right. I also added some corded elastic to one side for a button hole. As always, sewing is a learning experience and I made the loop too big. So, when it came time to pick a button, I had to pick a larger button and place it to the side to accommodate my large loop.  Next time I will make the loop smaller and I will pick the button first so I know what size to make the loop beforehand.

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I decided to use the bodice fabric to line the skirt too. Since I have never really lined a garment, I was not sure which technique would be best. Should I attach it to the gray fabric? Or should I have it separate like a slip under the skirt? Because of the colors and design, this dress was turning out very tomboyish so I decided to attach the lining to the skirt. This seemed to work out fine. I hemmed the skirt with the lining before I gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice.

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I used the floss method to gather the skirt. I zigzagged embroidery floss to the skirt and then pulled it to make the gathers. It worked great and was much easier than pulling threads and stitches. I would have liked more gathers in the skirt but I gathered it so that it fit the bodice. I will cut the skirt bigger for more gathers if I make this pattern again.

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Even though the dress did not turn out quite as I had envisioned it, it is very cute none the less. I like the colors and of course the embroidery design. I still have plenty of the grey fabric left, but I can’t decide if it should go back into the Goodwill box or back into the stash now. I am leaning towards the Goodwill box, since I have so much other fabric to work with. I’m sure my creative mind can pick a different piece to play with next.