Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

These are a couple of the potential new products I am working on. The design stage and preliminary mock-ups always take awhile, and some things are too time consuming or too fiddly to be practical, but I am hopeful that these will work out.

New custom camera bag

Adjustable strap

Deluxe child's apron with matching chef's hat

The camera bag is for our older daughter. We try to go for a walk every day and she really, really doesn’t enjoy it. In order to make the walks more enjoyable for her, we’ve agreed to let her borrow a camera so she can take pictures enroute. In order to protect my camera, I decided to make her a special bag with an adjustable strap so she can wear it across her body (the strap is long enough that I can carry it too). I’m also going to make a neck strap for the camera itself for when she is actively using it. The outer fabric has fusible interfacing and there is also a layer of fleece to pad the bag and protect the camera.

The apron and chef’s hat set are a gift for our younger daughter’s birthday. She loves to bake with me, but also loves playing in her own little kitchen, making soup, cleaning the stove and putting groceries away! I am going to tweak the hat a bit, but then it will be ready to add to the product range at Pip ‘n’ Milly Creations.

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I made another hat using the hat pattern my Nicole Mallalieu and I love it! I altered the crown height slightly to suit me better. I used raspberry coloured corduroy for the exterior and a heavy purple satin print for the lining. I found the piece of satin at a thrift store late last year for 75 cents! It is a beautiful fabric and will make a gorgeous lining for a handbag too.

Raspberry corduroy hat

Raspberry corduroy hat with upturned brim


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A lady approached me at the Market I participated in at the end of November and mentioned that she liked the idea of  something similar to an advent calendar for her children for Hanukkah. After various emails back and forth, lots of planning on paper and “take a deep breath and cut”, here is what I designed and made for her. She is really happy with the outcome and pleased that her children will have a fun tradition that is special for their family.

Hanukkah calendar

Hanukkah calendar with candles in the menorah

The lower section is a pocket for a gift for each day of Hanukkah. Each day the child will take one of the candles and place it in the menorah as appropriate.

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I know that Halloween is just around the corner and many people will be focused on that, but Christmas is also fast approaching and now is the time to start thinking about gift ideas for your friends and family. Over the next few weeks I will be hunting down some great gift ideas and posting about them here.

This year I will be participating in the first Christmas Gift Market at the EllaBella Designs Studio. The market will feature the work of several local businesswomen. There will be more information available soon about the other vendors, but I know it will be a great event. The Market is being held on Sunday 22nd November, from 1-5pm. This is a perfect opportunity to choose unique, handcrafted gifts for your family and loved ones – perhaps even a special treat for yourself! I am anticipating a great, fun-filled afternoon in a cozy environment with some very talented ladies.

I will be selling a variety of items, including children’s aprons, deluxe food-catcher baby bibs, coffee cup cozies, crayon rolls, colouring bags, tutus, zippered cosmetic pouches, handbags and Grab ‘n’ Go Placemats.

If you are in the Nanaimo area, please stop in and show your support! You’ll be glad you did!

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If you have a look over at my Flickr pics, you can see the hat I made for myself this week. It turned out quite well in the end, especially for a first attempt. I will definitely be making variations of this for myself, as I often wear hats and like to have a bit of variety. It will be interesting to see how it washes – most of my other hats are woven paper or straw and I’m not sure what you can do with them once they get dirty, which they inevitably do when you wear them in the garden. Oh, and when you let your children borrow them. And they eat chocolate. And transfer it to your previously pristine white hat…

The pattern I used for the hat was McCall’s M4400. As I made this on a whim, I didn’t have any interfacing handy and just used some muslin I had in stock. I also had to reduce the height of the crown as it was too big for me. The next time I make it, I think I will use medium weight interfacing for the brim and reduce the height of the crown at the pattern stage.

The main issue I had with making this hat was that I broke the needle in my sewing machine, which resulted in an unpleasant and worrisome noise. I took it in to the shop, where they prised the beloved machine from my fingers. It was quite difficult to leave it behind. When I learned that the chap wouldn’t be able to look at it until he returned from holiday some time next week I decided to retrieve it. At least I would have it in my possession. As it turned out, the very, very kind repair man was in the shop at the time and mended it for me while I waited! What an absolute gem! It was just a burr on the bobbin case, so he could do it then and there. I cannot tell you how very happy I was to have my lovely machine back safe and sound and working perfectly again. I felt rather lost without it.

Anyway, all is well now and I have heaps of projects in mind and a few orders to fulfill, too, so it is going to be a fun summer! Crowns, tutus, bedding, another kaftan, lounge pants, handbags, crayon rolls and maybe even some things for me!

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We do not go in for the disposable consumerism of these “special” days. I see no point in spending money on masses of paper cards to be handed out to all and sundry, then promptly discarded. It encourages the kind of disposable culture that has landed the world in so much trouble. It is easy to get caught up in all the hype and fuss, but we are trying to set a good example for our children – and we are trying to be better ourselves. I do, however, appreciate that cards are cheap, convenient and really quick and that not everyone has the time or love of sewing that I do!
Yes, it is nice to show your friends how much they mean to you, but personally, Valentine’s is about romantic love and if you need to wait until February 14th to show your partner you care, then something is missing! Perhaps it is just that I am quite materialistic and would much rather have a nice set of saucepans than a bunch of roses and some chocolate…. Eight years later we still use those pans every day!
It was the preschool party this week and we found a way of going along with it all, without succumbing to the purchase of cards that will be thrown away in a few days. What’s worse is that almost all the cards are basically just advertisements for the characters and shows we avoid! Instead, I made a batch of heart-shaped felt ornaments for Pip to give to her friends. So far she is happy with my craftiness and hasn’t asked to have the same as everyone else. Long may it continue (please!!).

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

We also made some cupcakes for the preschool party and had lots of fun doing it! Then we made a heart-shaped cake which was turned into a chocolate cherry trifle. Yum! The girls, of course, had to test the batter, after the mix was poured into the cake pan, by rolling up their sleeves and getting right into the bowl! A few minutes later and there was chocolate everywhere!

testing the batter

testing the batter

Cupcakes for preschool party

Cupcakes for preschool party

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Please read and act! Help spread the word.

This refers to legislation in the US, but it will have a huge impact here in Canada too. I presume if you are reading this blog at all you will have some interest in handmade goods, which is where my primary interest lays, but this will affect all manner of items made for children, not just handmade items. We will no longer have the same choice in what we buy for our children. Please read on to find out more and please, spread the word.

As of February 10, Olabelhe and thousands of others in the children’s industry will be deeply affected financially and / or will be out of business.

Remember the outcry last holiday season over lead in imported toys? In order to combat such safety issues, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has passed legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law sets stringent guidelines for children’s products containing lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products).

It is supposed to go into effect February 10th, 2009, and after that date any product intended for children ages 12 and under must meet these guidelines, and have a certificate of compliance from a CPSC-accredited laboratory. This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child under 12 might come in contact with. Sounds great, right?

In theory, maybe. But in actuality the law is so far reaching that it may succeed in turning the economy upside down. For starters, the CPSIA requires end unit testing on every product intended for use by children under 12. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing, regardless of how small the business. That means that manufacturers (like myself ) will have to pay to get every different product they offer tested. These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. For example if you offer 3 different types of dresses. Each dress contains 2 different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread, so that’s potentially $600 to test one dress. But if you have 3 or more styles, that’s $1800. And when you get a new bolt of fabric, you need to start all over again.

At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and “micro” manufacturers and most handcraft artisans. There is no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.

Also, the Act takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn’t meet the certification deadline of 2/10/09 as a “banned hazardous substance” which would be illegal to distribute in this country. Each infraction carries a $100,000 felony charge. This legislation is also retroactive for any pre-existing inventory as of February 10th, 2009. This means that everything on the shelves in those big (or small) stores will also be “banned, hazardous substances” – contraband.

Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children’s products go through the roof.

This also means that after that date, even selling your kids old things on eBay or Craigslist will be illegal. Charities will not be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance either. February 10, 2009 is being dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day” by many people in the apparel and toy industry. If this legislation is not amended, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Billions of dollars worth of children’s products will have to be destroyed because they can’t be legally sold, and this will cause major environmental problems.

While I am all for higher safety standards and keeping our kids safe, this law is so overreaching as to put thousands on manufacturers of children’s products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand as is.Please help us defend the American dream and our entrepreneurial spirit! This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning children’s market have to make a tough decision – continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, pay the enormous fees and raise costs of goods sold, or close up shop!

Please help us!Contact your Congressperson using this link: http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

It only takes 30 seconds!If you have an extra minute send a hard copy of the letter as well!To sign the online petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

Read more about it here: http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/

Please copy and paste this on your blogs, we need all the help we can get!

I copied this article from Olabelhe, who copied it from Knuckleheads Clothing.

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