Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Very slow day at work, so it's time for a nap.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Well there is not rock but lots of paper and scissors this week.  I have been busy getting things for the fall craft sales.  I know I am going to do at least three but might try to do more if I can swing it.  Part of having an Etsy business is not just making and posting things, it's trying to market, cost control, cost control, and more cost control.  So this post is about my Cost Control methods for one aspect of the business.

The thing I love most about having my own business is I am not restricted by what I can and can not do...well the lack of funds sometimes.  For the most part the lack of funds leads me to try creative ways to still do what I want, but finding an expensive path towards my goal.  

This week's goal is inexpensive packaging.  I love that so many businesses have a certain color or a certain paper that is identified with their name.  The most famous is Tiffany's packaging.  You know when you get this, you are getting something very special.  I want my clients to know that I think they are special by hand making as much as I can for my business.  I make all the jewelry myself, the paper beads, the paper bead jewelry, the mobiles, the quilled trinket boxes, etc.  So why would I buy pre-made packaging?  

I have been searching the internet for weeks trying to find packaging that would work for my business.  I have found two things that are going to work and so I have been making them; envelopes and boxes.  

Paper Source is where I got my envelope templates.  I have seen loads of cute handmade paper things on Pinterest but never found a template that I could use over and over.  I stumbled on to Paper Source and finally found what I was looking for.  I made the investment and it has been a blast playing with them.  I mostly used the smallest two in the set, but eventually I think I will use the others.  My main goal was the smallest one.  Here is what I did with them.
These are made from scraps of scrapbook paper that was large enough to lay the template on.  Then I took a bone tool and made the creases more crisp, glued them and let them dry.  When a customer buys earrings I can slip a business card and the earrings into the envelope.  The envelope is the same size as a business card so that's perfect for what I wanted.  When I made these I didn't know my business card would fit.  Worked out well just by luck.

Then I had to move on to boxes to put my quilling and necklaces into.  I found this pattern on via Pinterest and then followed the link.  I made the box twice between the YouTube video and her picture tutorial.  It took me a bit to get the hang of it because she does it so quickly.  I had to keep starting and stopping the video.  And these are what I came up with.
These bottoms of the boxes were made from origami paper that I had on hand.  The lid has to be larger so I had to use scrapbook paper for the lids.  I had a ball making these.  Once you make one you are hooked.  Making them takes no time at all.  You can make any size you like as long as the top is 1/2" larger than the bottom.  If you make the box from scrap book paper, it's a 12X12" square.  That part would be the lid.  The bottom would measure 11 1/2"X11 1/2" square.  I have made about four different sizes.  I can put cotton in them to make them look nice.  
This is a box totally from scrapbook paper using the above measurements.
To contrast the different sizes, the green one was made with origami paper on the bottom and scrapbook paper for the lid and the bottom one is the same box as above.
I tried these which I don't think are going to work for the business but I made two of them with one sheet of scrapbook paper.  I got this idea from here.

I have another box in mind to use but have to make a few to see if they are going to work for the business and how cost effective they would be.  So these are what I have been up to lately.  

If you were my customer and made a purchase, would having a handmade box or envelope be the "cute" factor that would be the icing on your purchase?

Friday, August 02, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have not done a post in a while because I have been busy doing lots more cooking than usual and of course working on items for my Etsy shop, Messy Table Designs.  I did remember to take pictures for future posts so let's get started. 

I am crazy in the spring about getting the garden started. We go through our seed catalogs for things to plant that have worked in the past and try to add something new.  We are limited with our space because of the dogs.  There are six beds of different sizes.  You have seen pictures before  so I won't go over those again.  As the summer marches on, so does my love for the garden.  While I love what comes out of it, I hate the hand watering part.  You have seen our water barrels; 5 in total.  I have to fill up buckets and large plastic watering cans and walk them back and forth.  We don't have enough pressure to hook up a hose otherwise I would hooking that baby up to save the wear and tear on my elbows and back from hauling water.  Wish we could  tap into the neighbor's waterspout.  Their waterspout would fill up the five barrels we have but, it would require we cut up their downspout and we don't have permission to do that.  

So with watering, weed picking and all kinds of composting and organic fertilizers our garden has been pretty darned good this year.
Not sure how many tomatoes (Roma) we have lost to squirrels but these escaped the teeth marks.  We had to pick them before I would have liked, otherwise we would have had to put them in the compost bin.  I did not weight these to see how much we had but I got 1 1/2 quarts out of them.  So not so bad.

This is our first harvest of our third year growing potatoes.  First year was only 2 1/2 pounds of slips.  Then we were encouraged about that first harvest and grew 5 lbs in potato towers.  Our harvest was good but not as much as we had hoped.  So back to beds we went.  We ordered 7 lbs of Golden Red slips.  Half were planted in one bed and the other half in another bed with beans and peppers.  Golden Reds (I think that's their name) is a cross between a Red Bliss and a Yukon Gold.  They have the typical red bliss look but the inside is a nice golden yellow that is a very creamy potato.  This bowl holds 7 1/2 pounds.  We have not harvested the other bed.  Those plants have not wilted back enough to dig up.  We thought we would give them a few more weeks.  I think we are almost there.

So that is our harvest update as of today July 30, 2013.  I have picked basil and made pesto once.  It was yummy.  The bugs are beginning to get to it so one huge picking might be all I get.  A canning post with tomatoes still to come either this week or this weekend when I find the time.  Happy Gardening everyone.