Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Vacation

Just taking a little time to travel halfway across the country. Be back in a few weeks. Get ready to jump into fall when I get back!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Looking for a Hero!

 As several people may know that I actually never intended janiegirlcrafts to take off.  Here I am, almost 18 months later, working everyday to fill orders!  I never thought I would have over 100 sales let alone 10,000 blog views.  I am excited by work everyday.  I get to view the world through a child's eyes and the view couldn't be better.

So, I have been thinking...  I have a couple of new adventures heading my way this year and I feel it is time to rename the shop.  I have a few options that I am fond of, however I would love to hear your ideas!  Take a look around the shop, and check out my new about page on ETSY.

Please comment or send me an email with your new shop name ideas!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Wondeful Solution

I just had to share this 5 minute project that has change my life!  Not to mention my son loves it too.  I was looking for a solution to the pile of books that has taken over my son's room.  Every night we read about a dozen books, sometimes just the same book over and over and over.  By the time my son falls asleep I can't get out of the chair the pile of books is so big.  We go thru this process: 

Me: "This one?"
Max: "No."
Me: "This one?"
Max: "No."
 Me: "This one?"
Max: "Okay."

 So, I scoured Pinterest.  I found some great options and some great activities and storage solutions, along with some future projects.  Check out more ideas on my board:  Well, I was originally going to get some rubber gutters from Home Depot, then walking thru Ikea the other day I found these Ribba shelves:  Word of warning they aren't in the shelf area when you go to look at them.  You can find them over by the picture frames, we purchased the 45" option, they also come in 21".  They were absolutely perfect.  Now my son can see exactly what he wants to read and he has even started bringing them to me when we are upstairs.  I have to say this might be my new favorite spot in the house.  Since it has been so hot, after our morning walk we turn the air on in Max's room and hang out to cool off.  His room has the best light in the house anyway and with this new corner I can sit and read my book while he runs around the room picking out  new books and "reading them" too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where do the days go?

Once upon a time... there was enough time... Who am I kidding?
These days it seems there aren't enough hours in the day.  I've been trying to fill each day with as much as I can, but it never seems to be enough.  I guess it must be summertime.  They days are lighter longer but I still can't seem to get a blog post done.  I have started many, stopped, saved them for later, then deleted them.  I have never been one to go back and re-work things.  It used to drive my art teachers in college quite mad.  Well, at least I've been having fun!

After a brief trip to Maine with the family I jumped back into action!

1. Make cupcakes for my dear friend Katie's Mom's Retirement Party!  These were so much fun!  She had a couple of desserts but realized last minute that there weren't quite enough to go around.  So, knowing I always have a few cake mixes  and pie crusts around the house, I happily jumped in!  I really do love making cupcakes!  Last year for Mother's Day my husband bought me a cute frosting tip set and I absolutely love using them.  Katie even mentioned "that special janie frosting touch?" I feel so special to get requests for deserts; maybe someday I'll open a real shop and sell cupcakes along with other homemade goodies.

2. Orders! Orders! Orders!  No rest for the wicked I guess!  I am not complaining! I have had so many orders over the past two months that I have spent every extra minute of the day making lanterns, toys, or bedding sets that I haven't had a chance to make my neices birthday presents yet!  May seemed to soar by, 20 orders in one month.  I have to admit I got a bit behind so I didn't get a chance to blog at all.  I didn't even get a chance to clean up my messes.  As soon as I got one order boxed up another came in.  The workers at the post office think I'm hilarious.  I walk in carrying as many boxes as I can, then head back to get another load.  At least they know what to expect and we get things done as efficiently as possible.  One woman even said she appreciated me and that at least I know what I wanted, I think she was having a rough day.  I can relate, at least I love this job.  I am my own boss and I set my own rules and regulations.  I do have to admit that sometimes the boss is a bit much.  Someone should talk to her.
Now it's time to keep moving!  I have a few things to share and hopefully I will find the time to get to them.  I have some giveaways and reviews comming up as well as a few new designs!  I can't wait to share them with you!  As alwasy thanks for checking in, I'll try to work on getting back into the swing of things.
Happy Summer!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Only one post this month... I've been busy

Everyday I go to bed thinking... "oh crap!  I didn't finish my blog post!"  Then I go to bed, I wake up in the morning to a new order from Etsy and I go about my day.  Then during naptime I get started on the order and work until the kids wake up.  Speaking of kids, I've also been taking care of a couple of kids during the weekdays to help out friends in need.  We go to the park and/or walk and spend as much time outside as possible.  Then suddenly it's the end of the day and I still haven't written my blog post.  Who am I to complain, an order is an order, no matter how big or small.  At least I am lucky enough to have a fabulous place to work everyday... if I do say so myself!  I even have a great place for yoga in the mornings!

A month ago I posted photos of the new wall in the dining room, well that was the smallest project from the week.  This room may have been my favorite.  With about $250, a day of my wonderful husband's free time, and a few coats of paint I was able to transform my dark, work room into a sun filled studio.  I'm still looking for a few key items: a vintage clothing rack and a large armoire or sideboard for all of the finished "for Sale" items.  But I feel those will pop up one day on the side of the road or at an amazing tag sale.  I'll keep you posted when I find them.

I started with a few coats of simple stone grey paint from home depot, Behr brand.  I like using paint with a built in primer.  Costs around $35, but I only needed one can of paint.  Then I found a great and reasonably inexpensive flooring at Ikea,  It is laminate, super easy to clean and gives a great beach vibe.  The room has a new life to it, much better than the black and grey carpet squares and tan paint.  Since the room is at the back of the house I needed to find a way to bring in some natural light.  I basically turned my studio into a huge light box!

I also did a bit of reorganizing.  I used to hold all my tools and trimmings in these metal pails I ordered from Burton & Burton for my wedding.  They have been super handy, but I figured I was wasting a lot of valuable space in my little room.  I also sacrificed the pails and a table to add in a little sitting area, I do have to admit sitting in my little chair and typing this afternoon has been lovely.  Below is a quick picture of what the room looked like before.  I have to admit a few little things make a big difference.


The floor as made clean up easier and the room seems to attract good vibes, maybe its the fact that all of the little ones that spend so much time at my house just love this room.  They point at the mobiles and we practice our colors.  I have been working on a few tea sets and crochet rugs, but those are for another post.  With my days being so busy I hope I get a chance to take some time out in the next few weeks and spend a little bit of time sharing my projects and inspirations.  Sorry about the delay, I'll gear up for the next show and tell!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A little update break.

The last two weeks have been a rush! My husband was on spring break for the last two weeks. We usually take a week and drive to Florida, spend time with family, get some sun, and drive back. This spring break we decided to stay home and renovate. It just so happened that New England was also experiencing 60+Deg weather. We accomplished so much!

The smallest project we tackled over break I actually just finished. It was the last and has made the most impact. I could shoot myself though. I thought I took a "before" photo, but alas I cannot find it. I even rummaged through past holiday and random photos of Max to try and find one. Obviously this was the most boring wall in my house. It was grey and painted white below the chair rail.... snooze... 

So, I spend some free time on Pinterest and found a bunch of sources for "Activity" type walls. Check them out on my Pinterest Board.

Max has started finishing dinner before Charlie and me. So we let him down to play, now he has the perfect space to play where we can still keep an eye on him.

This project took approximately 4 days.  I started on Friday night painting on 3 light coats of Rustoleum Magnetic Primer.    Word to the wise!  This is a very stinky project, keep the room well ventilated.  Also, I suggest asking the paint department at your local hardware store to shake the can in the electric mixer!  If it's not possible to have your can mixed at a store you will need to shake and stir for several minutes.  There are metal shavings in the paint that will settle to the bottom.  Clean up is also a chore, you cannot use soap and water.  I suggest tossing the brush and roller cover after use and using a paint tray liner, no need to clean up, just toss.  I then followed with 2 coats of Rustoleum Chalk Board Paint.  Use a roller for the smoothest finish for both.  The Chalk board paint needs about 3 days to cure. 

This morning I was out running errands, basically out to buy a magnetic strip to hold knives in the kitchen, photos of that project coming soon!  Well while I was looking at them I had a fantastic idea!  I grabbed two more strips and a couple of metal containers from the kitchen area of the store.  They are perfect for holding Max's Chalk and Magnets!  They even had clear lids so he can see what is in each.  I was thinking about using old 35mm developing tins, however since I don't develop film like I used to I don't have the same access to them.  I did find basic square tins at the check out!  There was a rack with "Gift Card Tins".  You know those little squares you see the big box stores use to give gift cards in.  I snatched two, now all of the thumb tacks and restaurant coupons and gift cards have a handy place to live.

Rosie found her way back upstairs from the basement along with an old clock and cork board.  Now we have a nice community area to share news, remind us of bills, and make art all in one space.  I also have to share a close up of our House Rules.  The kitchen has recently been nick named the "War Room" based on our artwork.  Charlie's found a bunch of vintage WW2 Propaganda Posters in his grandfather's belongings.  Charlie had them framed while attending college and we have hung them in the dinning room in the new house.  So this room is now the place where things are talked out and each person gets a chance to say what is on their mind.  Sometimes art might play a part too.  But for right now, we will encourage Max to draw and create. 

Check back soon for photos of the other projects from Spring break.  I promise they are even cooler than this one!

Coming soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Getting organized!

So, As many know I moved into a new house in September 2011. I now have my very own studio space and a lot of stuff to fill it. I've slowly been working on finding efficient was to store materials and tools. I think I finally found the right way to store certain materials.

Take a look.

I found these little bins in the $1 area at Target the other day. They are just the right size! The front row of ribbon is running through the second row of holes in each basket, with the back row over top in the top row. It is so easy now to just pull the yardage I need and snip with scissors. I was lucky that these baskets stack fairly well inside each other. So I stacked the baskets to save on shelf space.

With each order I like to include a hand written thank you note on color coordinated cards.  I have 3 boxes of cards floating around, normally stuffed on a top shelf and when I grab one it opens and I end up playing 52 card pick up.  So I decided to put them all together, which helps me to remember what colors I am running low on and not dump them all over the floor.  I threw in some writing tools and cute tags, now I can just grab the bin and have everything at my finger tips.  Writing Thank You Notes has never been so easy!

I hope these tricks can be useful in your everyday craftiness.  I like being efficient, it helps me keep track of everything, and makes clean up easier.  Stay tuned in the next few weeks for new Shop Updates.  Some serious projects are planned for the next few weeks.  I will be sharing more helpful organization tips and photos of the new shop!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 2, 2012

In Memory

A Dr. Seuss inspired Alphabet Art.

Think and Wonder,
Wonder and Think.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

A little later than expected but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

Last week I made this little spread to share with my playgroup in celebration of the day.  As everyone knows I love making cupcakes and sharing the things I make with others.  Valentine's day is the perfect day to share what you make with others.

Since playgroups consists of those under 18 months the treats included toddler friendly food, along with a few adult treats, the menu included:

Peeps Strawberry Hearts
Chocolate Cupcakes with Classic White Frosting
Diced Strawberries
Ella's Puree Pouches in Red of Course
Graham Crackers
Animal Crackers

These treats kept us going and gave us energy to play.  I hope you shared something with someone today!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fantastic Birthday Party Ideas!

Last weekend my son's friend, Jasper, turned 1!  We had a fantastic time celebrating his birthday with his family and friends.   I also was inspired by his mother's awesome decoration ideas!  So I thought I would share for anyone planning the next birthday party:  Enjoy!

My friend Jes is a wonderful lady, full of warmth and thoughtfulness.  She found a way to use her son's newborn clothing to make his welcome board special.  As we walked into the house we were all reminded just how far Jasper has come.

A few days before the party my friend called to say her oven had caught fire and might not be usable for the party.  My friend Jes is also very resourceful.  She would give Sandra Lee from the show Semi Homemade a run for her money.  With little time and very little oven use Jes whipped up these semi-homemade tarts from premade shells by simply adding a whipped tart frosting and fresh berries, as well as mini muffins from a brand new mini-muffin maker, tater-tots in a warming tray, and store bought mini-quiches.  I must say a one year old's brunch has never tasted better.  I have to admit I ate most of the mini-quiches and tater-tots.  I just couldn't help myself.

Now that we have moved back into town life has gotten much better for my family. We are now closer to friends, and these friends have become our family. So to help out I was able to supply a few decorations for the celebration.

I have been working on a few new mobile designs specifically for Birthday Parties.  Using the party theme colors I put together this Large Paper Lantern Mobile to hang over the table, as well as a custom Burlap Happy Birthday Banner for the living room. It was great to see all the kids play together under the banner.  As you walked into each room there was a sense of whimsy and family, just how a child's birthday should feel. 

I have to admit that I am inspired and grateful fr my firends and their familys.  The more we work together the better life gets.

Check back soon for more photos, ideas, and inspirations.  If you have any questions about recipes from the party, or anything you see please feel free to contact me or comment below.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Embracing a new idea and medium, way to go purple.

So may things have passed across my desk that I just couldn't wait to add this new item to the roster.  A few weeks ago I started working on a project trying to combine poms, lanterns, and ribbon into the same mobile. This item has been a work in progress, but here's a bit about it.
The biggest Paper Lantern Mobile Yet! This new mobile will measure approx. 24"x36" and include 10", 8", 6" lanterns as well as 8" pom- poms in coordinating colors. Tied with coordinating ribbon this mobile will be the statement piece for any toddler room. I'd love to hear what you think about these new items. Feel free to comment or shoot me an email if there's anything you might like to see next!  For months I've been asked by prospective buyers about combining paper lanterns with another popular trend, pom-poms.  I have to admit I was a little weary.  I like shipping my mobiles fully assembled, simply open the box and hang. I have been worried about how tissue poms would travel.  Well I'm putting those worries on hold.  Starting now, I will not include mobiles incorporating tissue pom-poms.  Check out this listing on my Etsy shop for more photos and information.

So January has brought new projects and more orders than expected.  I want to take a minute to say thanks to everyone who stops by this blog, and the shop.  Without you I would just be doing this for myself, and lets face it... doing things for others is always more fun.

Now that January is over it looks like purple is moving on as well.  I have a lot of new projects to share and I think a quick tutorial or two next month.  I wonder what will inspire me next?

Check back soon for new listings and more process photos!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No rest for the weary...

Once again this month I bring another Purple story.  I'm still not sure anyone is actually reads my little rants, this month about purple,  Oh well.  Here goes nothing...

So far your are aware that Purple has now entered my color pallette and that I have already learned so much about my business and myself this year.  Well, I have to admit a few new items poped into existance during the past few weeks that are sticking around as well.  They just happen to be purple.

  I have been approached by a few mothers who are holding birthday parties at venues with high ceilings. They have been interested in ordering mobiles but have no place to hang them, so here is my answer! Paper Lantern Flower Bouquets with coordinating Chair and Table Decorations.

Bright, Fun, and Whimsical Paper Lantern Flower Bouquets and Table decorations are great for any nursery, birthday party or special someone. These bouquets are a great addition to children's birthday party. If you have a venue with high ceilings these arrangements are a great way to add color, height, and whimsy without the need to hang. Spruce up the head table with one or two arrangements and add intant color. Bonus, give away each "flower" to a guest and they can use it like a wand or place it in a glass at home to remember the occasion. Use the ball jar for leftover candy or keepsakes from the party. Another mother was looking for a way to designate the head table, so adding a simple lantern in the birthday girls favorite color to the back of the chairs was a great response.

So I finally posted these additional items and so far the response is slight but positive.  It was funny the day I posted these items my husband came home from work, opened the door, took one look at the dinning room table and said, "Photoshoot?"  I guess he's beginning to understand, sometime I have to take a little bit of time and set up a shot.  But sometimes Max wakes us an hour early and I still need time to clean up.

Ain't learning grand?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where Was I?

h yeah!  Purple. Well, I'll get to the purple...

This new year is bringing many surprises and lots of work.  I have been giving some friends a hand by watching the little ones a few days a week.  I have never been so tired; oh and I forgot to mention Max and I where sick the beginning of the week.  So we took a brief break from the shop and the blogging world in order to spend time playing and healing.

Now that the coughs are gone and the weather is turning colder for some reason this color purple has walked through my door, plopped down on the table, and has decided to stay. Purple has invaded the mobiles: and it looks like its here to stay.  I have started trying to include a few process photos.  Remembering to take pictures in the middle of a project should be easier. 
I tried setting up the tripod by the desk to remind and have everything "Instantly set up". That plan bombed. I guess I like to spread out while I work, I found that the tripod was really just in the way. 

I've really tried to keep in mind my process this year.  I have the type of personality that likes everything in it's place and I actually operate better when I allow myself a little bit of "set up time".    I lay everything out, all the parts and tools. I even made myself a jig a few months back to expedite my process a bit.  Then before I know it, my project is boxed up and ready for it's trip to the post office.

My office is always a disaster area when I've finished a project. I find that if I take the extra 15 minutes I take at the end of the project the easier it is to start the next one.  Sometimes circumstances, like Max or dinner, don't allow that time and I find myself playing catch up the next order that comes in.

So far, paper lantern mobiles are by far the most popular item in the shop. This month I have sold seven different mobiles, ranging from a lighted paper lantern mobile, pictured, to a simple set of set of replacement lanterns for a mobile sold a year ago.  This year has been busier than I could have imagined.  I'm not complaining, just realizing it's time to bring my A Game, kick the sniffles in the butt, and get down to business in business and real life.

If i find that I get an extra 15 minutes at the end of the project after clean up, I'll post a little bit more about what I've learned from that project.

I can't wait to see what bit of learning the next purple project in January will bring.  Oh yes, this month is now officially dedicated to the color purple.  Don't worry, there's only 10 more days in January, there can't be too much more... can there?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Color Purple

Not the movie, funny.  I find that so far this week all of my projects have involved the color purple.  Plum, wisteria, violet, lavender, lilac, heliotrope, whatever the shade I think I have touched it.  I guess the new year is pointing me in a new color direction.  Truth be told I have never been a fan of purple, I'm not sure why, but that was another blog post...

Maybe this little shot of additional color is a push to be inspired like it did my previous post.  I have noticed that I have been neglecting the blogoshpere and my attitude towards it.  Looking back on past blogs I noticed a few trends. 

1. I doubled the number of blogs I post per year, every year, since my first year blogging in 2009.

2. I have been using this blog to share completed orders and projects, and the odd cupcake or cookie photo. However nothing I have shared has truly been inspiring or truly part of my life or myself.

3. I was not entertained, educated, or truly inspired by any photo, project or post written on this blog.

As someone guilty of posting without really trying I would like to take a minute to say..."ooops!"

So I, like many other people posting "stuff" on the interweb at the beginning of the year, call them resolutions if you like, I am trying something new.

This year I hope to bring tutorials, process photos, and true stories about my projects and the little bit of imagination I am trying to share with this world.  At least this can be a place I find my imagination and have the chance to share it.  Everyone loves show and tell, but this time I would like to start telling and not just showing.  So instead of cramming all of the projects I have been working on this week into one post I plan to share them all one by one.  A highlight of items is no longer needed, no longer an afterthought, a true idea.  So here goes... I hope someone listens.

My first touch of purple this week is brought to you by Wisteria:

A few days ago I was contacted on Ravelry, a knitting community, about selling some of my stashed yarn... A first for me. 

I love to use Ravelry, its a great place to keep track of your yarn online.  I can store all of my yarn's information, how much it cost, where I bought it,  dye lot, color, and amounts.  Knitters tend to call this stock of yarn a 'stash'.  Yes, yarn can be like crack for some. 

Well I was approached by a very nice lady who started a hat and scarf and wanted to add a set of mittens and ran out of yarn.  She was able to enter in the name and dye lot/color information and found me.  I was lucky enough to pick this up at Webs last April.  I have used this wisteria colored yarn on cupcake hats and plan a toddler sweater at some point.  I was happy to share with a fellow knitter, good karma helps the world go round. right?

So this little skein is wrapped up and ready to ship at the end of the week with the rest of my orders.  Check back for the next color purple and process photos... lantern mobiles!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

new year, new start

Time for telling stories and a little bit more from and about the storyteller. 

First the Story:

First off: My husband calls me the ex-workaholic, I like to call myself a multitask-er.So in 2011 when I became a stay at home mom I jumped head first into my new role as wife, mother, and homemaker. Then when my son was about 3 months old and we were beginning to settle into a rhythm, a friend noticed I had made a few cupcake hats for my nieces.  This is where the real story begins.  My first customer, my first order, and the Etsy store was open.

I was tasked with two hats, soon I received another order and then another.  I found I had made half a dozen cupcake hat designs and was starting to enjoy myself and I wondered what else I had to offer. I started to think about the time it takes to knit a hat, even an infant hat, at least a couple of hours.  How would I find the time to create an inventory based solely around knitting.  It just didn't seem like a good plan, so I headed back to the drawing board.        
 I had received several compliments on the design of my sons nursery so I started adding what I made for him.  Low and behold my most popular item soon became my paper lantern mobiles.

The first 6 months were incredibly slow, but then again I had Max to keep me busy. I sat for a few months with only a handful of items available on Etsy Mostly anything I had been asked to make by a friend or family. So I faced myself with a challenge. My goal would be: Listing 50 items on Etsy, Build an inventory.  I worked slowly on adding items, and spending time with my family.  However one or two orders a month didn't seem to add up to too much.  So the shop went on the back burner and I spent time traveling with my family and preparing to move to a new town.  Then August Hit: 8 orders in one month, I thought it was a fluke. But no, somehow my store was receiving traffic. I still haven't figured out which source did it, or where I was featured, but I was and there has been no looking back.

By far my busiest time was leading up to Halloween. I decided to List the costumes I had made for Max, and see what happened. I had the best time and was so inspired by custom order requests that I came up with several new designs and a passion for 2012 season.  Soon I had time to straighten out my receipts and make patterns for all of the costumes I had made.  I learned on the spot about making tutu skirts, fairy wings, and hats.  After a lot of reading, test runs, late hours, and massive failures I finally perfected a few new skills.  I made enough during Halloween to afford a few fancy child sized manequins and a small but useful serger.
I found that the seasons didn't really stop, they just rolled over each other.  I skipped Thanksgiving completely and found that December kept me busy with custom sacks.  I did take some time to learn a little bit more about how Etsy operates.  My small but loving family decided our Christmas would be completely handmade or homemade and I am proud to say that we did 90% of our shopping through the Etsy Website.  I experienced first hand how other shops communicated, shipped, and dealt with customer service.  Each transaction gave me insight into how I wanted to grow to operate my business.  I have taken notes and made lists.  I want to strive to put out quality items that inspire the world.  Or at least a few happy thoughts.

So to sum up my year:  my shop has received 15,571 overall views, it has been favorited 842 times, I sold 70 total items, participated in 3 giveaway/reviews, and enjoyed every minute.  I look forward to what the new year brings.  Hopefully I will finally build up an inventory and you will see me at one of the local crafts shows.  I have plans for new features to the blog, but thats a story for another time.

Here's to 2012!