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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! In 9 hours I'm catching a flight to Orlando.  Saturday night at 10pm I will be attempting to run/walk my very first HALF MARATHON!  Wish me luck!

I also look forward to just having some vacation!  Spending time catching up with old friends and meandering around the Disney parks, which seem like a second home to me.  I also will get to do some snacking and sipping for the Food & Wine Festival (Canadian beer cheese soup, here I come!), and finally visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Thus, I will officially be away from my shop and blog until I return on 10/5.  Wish me luck and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Pinterest Thursday: Ring Display Box

I'm so excited to share my Pinterest Thursday: I Tried It! Project with you all today.

In preparation for my upcoming craft shows, I've given a lot of thought to how I can display my jewelry at my booth.  Since I'm sort of just testing the waters here, I don't want to spend too much money on jewelry display items and pieces.  So, I've been trying to figure out inexpensive ways to set up my booth and show off my inventory while still having a cute, unique, attention-grapping display.  I've been gathering ideas at my Craft Show Display Ideas board on Pinterest.

I've thought of all sorts of frames and boards and foamy things to hang my necklaces and earrings from, but rings are a different story.  Bring in this wonderful little pin I found:


Ring display pin, click through to get to tutorial

The pin is for a tutorial on how to make your very own ring display box/tray/thing from a cutlery tray.  Now rewinding, when we first moved into our house, I bought a new cutlery tray for the kitchen, only to find it was slightly too big to fit in our drawer.  I threw it in the back of my car to eventually return to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but let's face it, that place can sometimes seem like the 6th circle of hell, and I don't like going in unless I have $250 lying around that I want to throw away.

Thus, much to the annoyance of my husband, I never made it around to returning the cutlery tray.  Fastfowarding, when I saw this tutorial, I was like, AHA!  Finally something I can do with that tray!  Now I can make a super cheap ring display box AND avoid ever stepping into Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

The main two items you need are any sort of cutlery tray type thing and some upholstery foam, which I found at Joann.


Some scissors and a box cutter or a knife are also helpful, along with some relatively thick fabric.  If your fabric is too thin, you'll be able to see the green foam through it.

Use your scissors or a knife to cut out foam pieces to fit in the cutlery tray divisions.  In the pinned tutorial, she uses just one big tray, so it's a lot easier.  Sadly I was working with a tray with lots of divisions, so I had a lot of cutting to do.  I was sort of worried my final result might look odd with all the divisions, but I think it turned out just fine (you'll see soon).


Here's my box with the foam pieces fitted in.  I then took my knife and started slitting lines through the foam where I wanted to be able to sit the rings.  I sliced the lines about half-way into the depth of the foam, and I tried to keep my lines straight (but didn't really succeed) and evenly spaced.

After I was done cutting lines, I took my fabric and cut it into pieces, and basically stuffed in into the sliced lines, folded it under the pieces of foam, and stuffed it all into the box.  I used the point of my scissors to really stuff the fabric in there and make it as taut as I could get it.  I chose a basic neutral colored muslin fabric.  I planned to paint my tray a bright green and I really wanted my rings to be able to pop against a non-distracting background.

After spraypainting the tray green (and thus restuffing all the foam pieces), this was my final result:

  

Yeah, some of my lines aren't straight, and my fabric is a little wrinkly in places, but once this baby is full of rings I think it's going to look great!  I also love the green color.  I can't wait to see it on my craft show table full of shiny things!  The only bad thing is that when I made it, I realized how many rings I need to make to fill it up!  I put EVERY ring I currently have for sale on it in this picture, and you can see it's like....1/5th full!  I have a LOT of work to do!

I think this is a great project even for non-craft show vendors.  You could make one of whatever size you want for your own personal ring collection and show it off on your dresser or vanity.  It'd also make a cute handmade gift for a friend!  I'd also like to think you can't really notice that it started out as a cutlery tray...


life by the book



Friday, September 23, 2011

Holiday Bootcamp Kick Off

Waaaaaahhhhhhh!  I'm sort of trying to swallow down a nervous breakdown right now.  A week from yesterday, I leave for my happy place, Walt Disney World resort in Florida.  A week from tomorrow, I am going to attempt the impossible -- running (jogging? walking? limping? crawling?) 13.1 miles as part of Disney's Food & Wine Half-Marathon.

I know I had made some promises a while back to keep you all posted on my training progress, and maybe you are wondering where all those promised updates are...well, I have barely been training! Ahhhhhhhh.  The longest I've gone in preparation for this is 9 miles.  And I've done that twice.  And the last time was like 3 weeks ago.  I have only run once this week (4 measly miles).  I'm promising myself that I will do 9 miles again this weekend since it's my last chance to squeeze in another long run...but....we'll see.

Anyway, running-related freakage aside, I've been slowly building up some anxiety related to my Etsy shop and this holiday season.  Two issues -- I want my shop to be in tip-top shape for the upcoming holiday rush (assuming there is a rush for me), and I've signed up for two craft shows in Houston where I will attempt to sell my wares in person for the first time EVAR.

There are many, MANY things I need to do to prep for a for-reals craft fair.  Hopefully preparing for the craft shows will help get my Etsy shop into gear as well.  Yesterday, I received week 1's issue of Etsy Success' Holiday Bootcamp, and I really need to follow some of the advice the blog article suggests.  So, in an attempt to get my butt in gear, I'm going to start listing some goals for myself.  Maybe you can follow along too!

Etsy's Holiday Bootcamp


Lazy Owl Boutique Holiday Goal Outline (very official name)
  • Increase inventory, with a goal to at least double inventory by October 29 (date of first craft show)
    • Begin by focusing on inventory that will sell well at craft shows:
      • Make more wire-wrapped rings in variety of sizes
      • Make more bunting necklaces, particularly ones with school colors (focus on Texas schools and SEC schools for now)
      • Make more vintage glass jewel earrings
  • Order supplies as needed
    • Inventory supplies -- earwires, craft wire, crystals
    • Craft show supplies? -- another table, table coverings, risers, receipts, vendor apron, earring cards, merchandise bags, stickers, etc. etc..
  • Prepare/create displays for craft shows-- ring boxes, earring frames, doorknob necklace holders, earring/necklace trees, price signs, shop name banner, etc. etc.
    • Update inventory catalog and pricing -- I've gotten really lazy about entering my supplies and costs into my inventory spreadsheet, how will I know where to price my items if my supply costs are not accurate?
    • Photograph and list, list, list on Etsy all these new items I'm making!!
    *Sigh*...I basically just need to set aside more time...more time to create items, but also to update my inventory/pricing spreadsheets, take photos, and list items.  I feel like all that admin stuff takes more time than actually creating, but I guess that's the way it is!

    Do you have a plan to get ready for the upcoming holiday season?  Feel free to share!  Or give me advice, I love advice...

     


      Thursday, September 22, 2011

      Pinterest Thursday: Oreo Chocolate Cupcakes

      Maybe you have noticed I don't talk too much about *cooking* or *baking* or *recipes* like lots of other lady blogs out there.  Unfortunately, I was never blessed with the strong desire to cook.  I love, love to eat.  In fact, eating is one of my all-time favorite things...but I just don't really enjoy cooking.  Probably because I'm so lazy (hence, lazy owl).

      But, I do love cupcakes, and I'd been eyeing this pin for sometime:



      Click on over to Baked Perfection for the full tutorial with ingredients.  It was easy enough for an inexperienced baker like me to handle...basically a doctored chocolate cake mix (add sour cream and instant pudding mix), plus some real simple cream cheese frosting.  I adore cream cheese frosting.  I've never been a fan of buttercream because it's just so sugary and sweet, so cream cheese frosting has always been my fave.


      My result, ooey gooey oreo deliciousness
      The additions to the cake mix made the chocolate cake super moist, and I added bits of oreos to both the cake and the frosting.  My only hiccup was during baking, I was not quite sure if I baked them long enough.  The cake was so moist it was hard to tell, but regardless, they turned out delicious!


      All for me?
      It's difficult to bake for a family of 2...24 cupcakes without any kids to feed or a party to host was a bit overwhelming (and way too tempting).  I think I've eaten about 10 of them myself, because (not to toot my own horn) they are pretty darn good.  I caved and brought 8 to work and they quickly disappeared.

      I highly recommend this recipe, and I'm happy I took a step out of my comfort zone and tried some baking for once!

      This concludes this week's Pinterest Thursday: I tried it!

       As per usual, I've linked up to the Pinterest party at bythebookpaper, check it out!

      life by the book



      Tuesday, September 20, 2011

      Me, A to Z

      Alphabet print by EeeBee

      I stole this from Two Four Five, but I believe it's going around the interblogs right now...just thought it'd be a fun change of pace! 

      A. Age: 26
      B. Bed Size: King, I absolutely love our huge bed.
      C. Chore that you hate: Do I have to just pick one? It's a toss up between cleaning the toilets and ironing, I hate both...
      D. Dogs: Leo (two to three year old 15lb rescue mutt) and Penny (2 to 3 month old 18lb rescue puppy mutt!)
      E. Essential start to your day: CAFFEINE
      F. Favorite Color: turquoise blue
      G. Gold or Silver: I like both, but I'm going through a gold phase right now.
      H. Height: 5'6.5''
      I. Instruments you play: I used to play the flute in marching band, but I can barely get a sound out of it now
      J. Job Title: Accountant II.  Fancy, I know.
      K. Kids: Not yet...
      L. Live: Texas
      M. Mother’s Name: Diane
      N. Nicknames: JDip, Dippy, some people call me Eeyore, haha
      O. Overnight hospital stays: Never thankfully 
      P. Pet peeve: Open-mouthed gum smacking, people who stop in doorways or the middle of a walkway to have a conversation with someone and disrupt all flow of traffic... 
      Q. Quote from a movie: "But why is the rum gone?" - Jack Sparrow
      R. Right or left handed: Right
      S. Siblings: One little sis
      T. Time you wake up: 7am on a work morning, 9ish on a non-work morning
      U. Underwear: ??? yes.
      V. Vegetable you hate: Hmmm...I don't mind most veggies, I guess I'd have to say baby corn cobs, those things are weird.
      W. What makes you run late: Traffic, and dealing with my silly dogs
      X. X-Rays you’ve had: Sinuses, hand
      Y. Yummy food that you make: Haha, I don't "make" much of any food, but I did just make some delicious cupcakes
      Z. Zoo Animal: Giraffes
       
       
       

      Wire-wrapped ring bonanza

      So, I decided a few weeks ago to sign up for some local craft fairs (more on that later...) and have been gearing up for increasing my inventory (which is basically something I need to do regardless to get more traffic to my shop and gear up for the *hopeful* holiday rush).

      The line I really wanted to focus on first were my wire-wrapped rings.  Wire-wrapped rings are delicate and appropriate for everyday wear, but they bring something elegant to your outfit.  I have made myself several in all different colors and pretty much wear one everyday since they go with anything.  Also, I seem to get a lot of key word searches for wire-wrapped rings, and I think they'll be fun and easy to sell at craft shows in person.  Plus, they are just plain fun and simple to make :) 

      My husband was out of town on business for a week, so I spent a lot of time staring at the new puppy (trying to make sure she didn't have any accidents, haha), and making wire-wrapped rings while catching up on last season of Boardwalk Empire.

      Here are some of my new rings that I've posted at the shop, feel free to browse.  This time around I focused on making smaller sizes, but I've got to make sure everyone is fairly represented, so I'll be posting some size 7s and 8s soon!

      
      Gold wire-wrapped hot pink druk bead ring
      












      
      Gold wire-wrapped ring with green luster druk bead
      
      As you can tell, I'm also having a love affair with druk beads.  Czech glass druks are round pressed-glass beads made in the Czech Republic.  They have a shine and brilliance that is hard to capture with a camera.  They can be opaque and extra shiny, like my olive green druk bead above, or slightly transparent with a subtle inner-glow, like the turquoise druk bead I used.  I just love their uniqueness!

      Please tell me what you think! Do you have a favorite color combo or a suggestion for a new color combo?  I've got so many different beads and pearls that the possibilities are endless!

      Thursday, September 8, 2011

      Pinterest Thursday: I Tried It!

      This week I wanted to try a cute pin I found a while ago:



      We travel a lot (or so I thought, until I made this haha), so I thought it would be really cute.  We also just moved into our house in December, so we still have a lot of empty wall space to decorate.  I thought this cute little handmade map would be unique and a great way to personalize a room.

      You can check out the original tutorial to get step-by-step instructions.  I followed them with just a few changes.  I bought a 16x20 canvas for cheap at Hobby Lobby, a bunch of cute scrapbook paper, some miscellaneous cute small buttons, some paint for the canvas, and a pack of wooden letters.  I also already had some Modge Podge at home.

       Oooh a bunch of scrapbook paper...

      I knew it would take me a good while to cut out all these states (curse you, New England).  One weekend when the husband was out of town, I had yet another TV marathon (I think this time it was Fringe) cutting out all the states.


      I printed to poster so the states would be big enough to fit on my rather large canvas.

      Then, I cut out each state (that took forever).  I rotated through all my scrapbook papers and traced each state on them.  Since I didn't have as many papers as I did states, I just made sure to keep all the patterns spread out (does that make sense?). 

      I painted my canvas blue.  You can see in the original tutorial she uses a more neutral beigey color, but I love bright blue and I thought it'd look ocean-y.  After it dried, I glued on my states as precisely as I could.  I then modge podged over the entire map to give it a nice glossy look and hold down any curling ends of the paper.

      I debated adding any words or a title to my map.  I didn't really want "Oh the places you'll go", which is a Dr. Suess quote the original tutorial uses.  We don't have any kids yet so I just wasn't feeling the Seuss.  I decided on "Wanderlust".  I painted the letters a bright green and glued them on my canvas.

      The finishing touch was gluing my little buttons on the map for the places we'd visited.  My husband and I agreed on some ground rules.  I could only "button" places we had both visited together, and we had to have stayed overnight there (not just driven through). Only one button per state, even if we've been to multiple cities, and I put a heart button for the two cities we've lived in -- Baton Rouge and Houston.

      Ta da! Sorry for the crapola picture.  Really bad lighting.



      Turns out the only states we've visited are all the southeastern ones....plus Massachusetts (where the button is practically bigger than the state).



      I sort of start rushing when I get tired of working on a really tedious project, so I wish I had taken more time with the letters at the top.  I painted and glued them on before they were totally dry and got some green smudges on my canvas...but oh well :)

      I'm really glad I made this, and I can't wait to be able to add more buttons to it!  Hopefully someday oneday it will be full!

      And that conclues this week's Pinterest Thursday!

      Do you want to participate in Pinterest Thursday?  Feel free to join me and link up at bythebookpaper!

      life by the book



      Friday, September 2, 2011

      Are you ready for the holidays?

      I know it's only barely September...but if you're an Etsy seller it might be time to start gearing up for the holiday sales rush!  I say that like I know what I'm talking about, but since I've never experienced a holiday sales rush (or any sort of sales rush, sadly), I don't.  However, Etsy just sent an email announcing this year's Holiday Boot Camp, so I hope you participate!  Goals are good!

      What are you doing to prepare for the holiday sales rush?

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      Pinterest: I tried it!

      Today I'm trying something new!  Kristen over at bythebookpaper had the most excellent idea to start a weekly blog series on Pinterest.  If you're like me, you may have a giant Pinterest board of DIY craft projects or recipes that you're longing to try.  Well, Kristen has decided to encourage us to actually *do* all these pins that we've spent hours diligently pinning.  Each Thursday, I'll try to post a pin from my Crafts & DIY pinterest board that I've successfully attempted (key word being "attempted").

      This past week, I tried to recreate a pin I'd been eyeing, and really an item I wanted to make for a long while:



       I love yarn wreaths.  I have some others pinned also.  I've bought a few off of Etsy....they are just so fun and colorful and happy...they add a little bit of childhood cheer to your house or front door :)
      So this weekend is my mom's birthday, and we happen to be traveling to Dallas for the LSU-Oregon season opener football game.  So I decided to make her an LSU yarn wreath based on my pin!

      You can see I started out with pretty much the standard materials -- a foam wreath form I got at JoAnn, some yellow felt for the pom pom flowers, yellow and purple yarn, a hot glue gun (represented by two hot glue sticks haha), and scissors (unfortunately not shown, but I think you can figure it out).



      You can follow Mrs. Priss' tutorial.  You simply wrap your yarn around your wreath form in whatever design or pattern you want.  I didn't use an exact scientific method, just lots and lots of wrapping until everything looked relatively even.  It takes a long time to finish a whole wreath.  I must have watched 5 episodes of Buffy.  Now I understand why some people charge upwards of $50 for these babies on Etsy.  Happy birthday mom.

      You can decide how you to finish of the ends of the yarn.  Simply tying it is an option.  I tied and then hot glued the knot for extra strength, but that gave the back of my wreath a slightly funky look.  You could even use pins to hold everything down if you wanted to.

      Ta da!


      And voila, a nifty cute lil LSU wreath specially for my momma.  I made the yellow pom poms with some felt.  Unfortunately I have no pics of the process, but that's really easy also.  Just cut out two inch strips of felt (the longer =  the bigger the pom pom).  Fold in half and glue along the edges (not on the inside).  Then, make little cuts every half inch or so along the strip on the inside (non-glued side).  Start on one end of the strip and being rolling around and around the center, gluing where you want to, then glue closed.  Instant pom pom! 





      Now I'm excited to try more wreaths...one for every season and every holiday and some just for fun!

      I hope that made sense, let me know if you have questions!  This concludes our very first Pinterest Thursday.  One pin down, many many more to go!

      Want to join in?  Let me know what you've made from Pinterest!


      Feel free to follow everyone's progress by clicking the button bellow:

      life by the book




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