Thursday, September 29, 2011

Client Project and Giveaway...

I just received these pics from a client that I made a few sets of drapes for. They look amazing and I am so glad they turned out so well!

Don't you just love that chair?! I think she should be an interior designer. :) Actually, she owns a cute children's store in NYC called Bundle.

Now for the Giveaway!

Up for grabs is this sneek peek at my new product line coming out sometime in November plus $10 dollars off any item in my shop or $20 off a purchase of $50 or more!

To enter, simply become a follower of my blog, and go to Elisabeth Michael and pick your favorite item and comment about it here. 
For extra entries, Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
or Pinterest. Please let me know if you have extra entries.
Winner will be chosen Wed. October 5th! :)

Have a lovely day and Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DIY: Painting Stripes

A while back, before my son was born, I did a post on his nursery and thought I would share how I painted the stripes on his wall. They were easy and turned out great! 

First I painted the entire wall a light pale blue in flat paint and let that dry. Then I measured off lines 9 inches apart and used a pencil to mark them across the entire wall. I then taped my lines. The key to keep the paint from bleeding is to first paint with a half dry paint brush along the taped line and let it dry for a few minutes before filling in the rest. This seals the lines off and keeps the paint from bleeding through. For the stripes, I used a matte finish paint.

And there you have stripes! Try it!

Does anyone have a striped wall you would like to share? I would love to see it!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a pillow giveaway! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home Inspiration: Bookshelf

Today, the lovely Diana from Express-O (one of my favorite blogs) graciously agreed to do a guest blog post for me. I am loving this post she sent over!

For the past few years I've been smitten with snazzy bookshelves. I often hear people
say that you can learn so much about a person from their bookshelf and the books
they read. So today let me show you a few examples - bookcases that rock my world!
(Yes, you round mirror, I'm looking at you). 

My rule is: messier the better! Whenever
I visit friends, I love to browse through their new bookcase-gems and discover what
they’re passionate about. I also found that books in general are great conversation
starters at dinner parties.

So, I'd love to know: how you arrange your bookshelves? Do you keep them
tidy, messy with different bits and bobs like photo-frames, or maybe you colour-
coordinated them? xo

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fashion Friday - Legging Love

Well, fall is officially here and it definitely feels like it! I've been in the mood for a pumpkin spice latte all week and I might actually get one today when I go out with my hubby later today. It's the perfect weather...overcast and cool. Makes me want to carve pumpkins. :)

Speaking of Fall, take a look at these cute leggings and this site Mod Cloth I have just found today. I could spend every last dime here! 

This sweater/shirt would be so cute with a pair of black leggings- don't you think?

Ok. On to actual leggings.

These are too cute!

Can't say I would wear these, but cute idea for a pic. 




These are just too cute! Have a wonderful weekend! See you Monday! :)
Don't forget to enter to win the giveaway at "OpalNeverShouts" !

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DIY: Ottoman Cover

I recently decided I didn't like the look of my office area and decided to revamp a few things. I posted about the desk I painted and now am going to try (notice I said try) to give a tutorial on the ottoman cover I made. :) Here it goes...if you have questions, please contact me and I will try to explain as best I can.
Desk before....
Desk After...

Ottoman Before...

 Ottoman After... 

Ok...So let's begin.

1. My ottoman was 17 inches wide on every side and 19 inches high. At this size you will need 1 yard of fabric.
2. You will need four panels for the sides and 1 for the top. 
3. Cut each of the side panels 1 inch longer than the width of the ottoman (for me it was 18in.) and 3 inches longer in height than the height of the ottoman (for me that was 22in.) This allows for a 1/2 inch seam allowance and hem. 

4. Now cut the top panel 1 inch bigger in width and height than the ottoman. (Mine was 18x18 since my ottoman top was 17x17)

5. With right sides together, sew all side panels together at side seams creating a sort of circle.

6. Now for the tricky part. Take your top panel and at each corner, fold the corner into a triangle. This is a different piece of fabric just for explanation on a larger scale. concentrate. On this next pic, you will see a straight pin and a faint line. You are going to stitch 1/4in. in from the point of your triangle right where the straight pin is and NOT the line. I did this wrong the first time around and had to rip out and redo. :)

If you will lay your fabric flush with a line as I have mine here and put the pin facing down that will be correct. Basically, you need to stitch STRAIGHT down from the folded edge and NOT diagonally from the folded edge.

7. Do this to all four corners of your top panel. Turn corners right side out when you are done.

8. Now, with right sides together, pin your top panel to the 4 side panels matching the corners. You will need to pin all the way around as you will have a little more top panel fabric than side panels. (This is bc the seam allowance has been completely taken up in the side panels, but not the top with only 1/4 corners but it will all even out when you put it together in the end and give your cover room to fit snugly over the actual ottoman.)
You will need to match the seams (flatten the triangle seam) at each corner and ease in the fabric until you reach the next seam. 

9. Stitch all the way around using a 1/2in. stitch. When you get to each corner, lay the triangle down being careful to keep the seam underneath open and flat. You will sew a regular straight corner as best you can. If you can't get a perfect corner, or the top panel corner point seems to stick out more the the side panels, that is ok. It is better for it to be a little snug than for you to have points on all four corners. As you can see from the pic, I ended up with somewhat of a rounded corner. The main thing is to make sure that those seams are open and flat on the right side of the fabric.

10. through the most difficult part! Ok. Now turn your cover right side out and try it on your ottoman. It will probably be quite snug, but don't worry, you did not make it too small! Ease it on slowly working it down. 

11. You should have a bit of extra on the bottom which we will use as our hem. Take a straight pin and place it where you want the cover to stop (just before the floor is best)

12. Next, take your cover off again. If you have a serger, you can just serge this bottom edge and fold it up to your pin and blind or hand stitch the hem. If you are not using a serger, then you will need to make two folds. The First One- about a 1/2 inch up, and the Second One- up to your pin. Use a hem gauge or tape measure to be sure you are folding the correct amount up all the way around. Iron your fold as you go.

13. Last step! YAY! If you know how to use a blind stitch on your machine, go for it. If not, hand stitch your hem all the way around and you are done. Iron the hem one more time as well as the other seams and put your new ottoman cover on! What a difference just an ottoman cover can make!

Here are a few other cute ottoman ideas I found. I have also done pleated ottoman covers, but not sure I can explain all that! :)

I am hoping to post a tutorial in the next couple of weeks on making drapes with horizontal stripes like the ones shown here.

I recently did a cover for a client for an ottoman like this and she added nail heads all the way around the middle dip. Very nice!

Easy addition with the piping.

Will have to try this also!

This is a great idea for extra storage space. Maybe a different color? :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

7 Tips for ETSY

Well, if you are on ETSY you know that they rolled out the new Search Ads today. I am trying it and will see how it goes. It really does help that there are stats now to track how things are working for you. In the mean time, I thought I would post a few tips on my experience selling on ETSY.

First off let me say that I started on ETSY in January of 2010 while I was still teaching school full time. I knew I wanted to quit teaching and have a baby and figured I better have something going to somewhat replace my income from school, but something I could do from home. So, I started my ETSY shop selling Pajamas- hence the name Purple Pajamas. One problem, every time I went to the fabric store, I would see all of this fabric and all I could think was, "What a cute pillow that would make!" So I completely changed my shop around, staying up to all hours of the night sewing to build up some inventory, and soon I was making sales left and right! I could barely keep up with it while teaching full time.

As time has passed, ETSY has changed a lot ,for the better in my opinion, and I have opened a second shop, Elisabeth Michael and my blog and website I am now consolidating my two ETSY shops and selling only fabric out of one. So, this is what I have learned through it all...

1. Don't give up.
     They say something like upwards of 85% of businesses fail in the first 6 months and that is because they quit. Determination is the key.

2. Add new items daily.
   I can't stress this enough. I still have to remind myself of this when sales are slow. New items get you on the front page and also give your shop a fresh look to repeat customers. When you go back to a shop that you have purchased from, why are you going back? Usually to see if they have anything new right? If the department store sold all the same items for months on end, would you stop shopping there? My point exactly.

3. Don't be afraid to completely change directions and try something new.
    Now obviously, you must stick with something at some point, but when I realized that I would rather make pillows than pajamas: I made the switch. I also completely changed the style of pillows and fabric I was offering at some point too. Not bc they weren't selling, but bc I wanted my shop to cater to different clientele and I wanted to go in a different direction entirely.

4. Be teachable...
   If you see that what you are trying to sell, isn't selling, then sell something else or a different style. Now some people will tell you that you are artistic, be yourself and be unique, and I am definitely all for that, but if you are selling blue and mauve teddy bears and doilies, no offense, but you need to take a long hard look at what people want and are buying today. Something new and different or modern that no one has seen is fine, not something that has been around for years...unless it's vintage of course.

5. Do not underestimate yourself in your pricing.
   I am amazed at how many people do this. I recently contacted quite a few ETSY sellers about buying wholesale from their shop and so many of them could only give me a 20% or so discount or told me they were already selling at a wholesale price. That is crazy! Once again, no offense, but if I am going to take all the time and effort to make something handmade, I am not going to make $10 on it! Call me crazy, but let me tell you this. You are worth more than you think. Think about this....(if you are selling close to wholesale price)

You can never have a 50% off sale to attract buyers bc you would be losing money.
You probably already are losing money and just don't realize it. (more on that in a minute)
The average store can sell something 80% off and still turn a profit. Why shouldn't you?
Your pricing shows what you value your products and workmanship at. So wholesale means you think your product is cheap. Sorry, but it's true.

6. Are you losing money on ETSY?
   To determine whether you are making or losing money, you must factor in more than just the cost of the materials and supplies. You need to factor in EVERYTHING and I do mean everything.

That includes: materials, supplies, electricity (sewing maching, serger, iron etc.), water, heating and cooling, business cards, shipping bags or boxes, everything else used to ship items, and most importantly your time. And not just the time it takes you to make the item. What about the time to order the materials to make the item or to go to the store, the gas to get there, the miles you put on your car, the time listing it, the time taking pics, the time reading and learning things about your shop,  and on and on I could go.

Take the time to sit down and figure out just how much is one business card? How much is one plastic bag you use to ship the item? (or whatever applies to you)

And last but definitely not should be getting paid enough for the time you invest. Like more than you would working a 9-5 job. If I wanted to have a 9-5 job, I would go and get one- I don't. And my skill is more important to me than $10 an hour. If excavators can make $75/hr why can't I? I think sewing takes more skill than excavating :) IMHO

7. Set goals
  If you really intend to make money and create a sustainable business, you must have goals and a plan to get to those goals. Write down: how much money you want to make per month, how much you are budgeting for advertising, where you are going to advertise, if you will use email marketing, how often you will use social media tweet, facebook etc. and of course BLOG!

I could talk forever, but let me just say, I love ETSY, I love what I do and you can too!

At home with my 6 month little boy and not going to a 9-5 job every day is therapy to my soul!

If you have some tips to share, please do. I would love to learn something new!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall Pumkins

I'm in the mood for a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and a good book. :) In the mean time, I found these cute pumpkin decor ideas and a little DIY project along with...

For Those of us who have limited time, I thought this was cute and looked pretty quick and easy. Below....DIY on how to make cute polka dotted pumpkins. I read this on French Knots and thought it was a great idea.

Cut out some vinyl stickers and put them on your pumpkin.

Spray paint over the entire pumpkin. You can also use other colors: brown, black, etc.
Voila! Your polka dotted pumkins! Easy enough right? Do you have any easy ideas for decorating pumpkins? Please share!