Embroidery Fun

When I first started Working on an embroidery machine, I realized it was going to be an expensive hobby.  Some of the items you need to have on hand are:

1. The embroidery machine , which in and of itself is not an inexpensive machine depending on the hoop size, the larger the hoop the more expensive the machine.

2. Embroidery Threads, not just regular thread,

3. Stabilizers, more kinds than you can count,

4. Embroidery files

5. And your project materials, fabrics and patterns

Not having a lot of money, I am constantly looking for ways to cut costs.

The most important cost saver I have found is the maintenance of your own machine.

Learn how to oil your machine and clean it. It will save hundred of dollars that would otherwise go towards a repairman’s pocket.  By keeping your machine clean and oiled it will prolong the life of the Embroidery machine and give you less trouble.

The two most important spots to oil your machine are the bobbin area and the needle arm area.  Check out your instruction manual for specifics of where to oil your machine or go to the manufactures sight for help in identifying these areas.

Then sit down to a new project and have some fun.

 

 

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I do Believe in Fairies

photo 2(30)Monsters, Mermaids and Mayhem

Designing Embroidery files for 4×4 Embroidery machines has become a new passion of mine.  I recently purchased a new $3,000 dollar Embroidery machine although I already had a small Cheaper model.

I have found that I am scared of touching this newer model in case I brake it.

Did you know that in my area there is not one Sewing machine repairman?  I would have to travel over a hundred miles to find someone to tinker with it.  I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.

One of the reasons I invested in the larger machine was because of the hoop size.  When purchasing Embroidery files you pay around $50 dollars for a set of 10-15 patterns in various sizes.  But end up with only 1 or 2 of those patterns fitting the 4×4 hoop.  I wanted to be able to use more of those patterns so I would feel like I was getting my moneys worth.  And so I upgraded to a larger machine.

Now that machine sits in a corner with its dust cover happily scaring away all those little dust bunnies. And I’m back to using my smaller, cheaper machine for fun.  And to make it even more fun, I have found some inexpensive software that allows me to design my own files for embroidery. Whoot! Whoot!

And all the little fairies have come out of the closet to help.  I just designed a copy of one of them after all the help they gave me when my little cheap machine broke down.  Turns out I am not scared to touch this machine.  I broke it apart to see if I could find out what was wrong.  Surprise, surprise, it turns out all those dust bunnies scampered inside the smaller embroidery machine to hide.  All it took was a few fairies, and elbow grease to clean it out and get it up and running again.

So in honor of those cute little fairies, here is a memorial for all the great help they gave…

photo 2(31)photo 1(32)

I Do Believe in Fairies! I Do Believe in Fairies! Do You?

 

 

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Monsters, Mermaids and Mayhem

Monsters, Mermaids and Mayhem is a new site I am just putting together.

There is still a lot of work to do but you can check out the beginings of a site at:

monstersmermaidsandmayhem.com

More coming soon!

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New Product- Plastic Scales Great for Crochet, Knitting ,Crafts and Chain Maille

DSCN1445Something Fun I have been Playing with, Plastic Scales.

I love to try out new crafts and really got a kick out of working with this one.  Even made a Coif for a Medieval outfit.

104_3000 Who wouldn’t love fighting a dragon in an outfit covered with Dragon Scales.

 

Contact me if you are interested in the plastic scales.

All it takes is a little imagination.

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A side note about shipping

I was anxiously awaiting some material for  an order of sewing.  Later than expected, it finally arrived.

And this has happened more than just once and not just through this carrier.  It has happened through other carriers as well.

oops!

oops!

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When shipping a package, there are a few suggestions I would like to make that might help your merchandise from being completely destroyed.

There are many carriers for mail and packages now available.  Not all carriers are without accidents.  So don’t hold the carrier of this package in contempt for what happened to the package that appears in these images.  It could happen to anyone including yourself as you trip on the way to the post.

The suggestions I have will help even you save some future merchandise.

1. Packaging of merchandise.

For soft merchandise, Those items that will survive dropping,  include a protective wrap around your item, such as a plastic wrap (preferably air tight) or paper wrap if the item will not self destruct when invaded by water.  Think about possible rust, water spots, spoilage, dissolving,  or any other harmful damage that would make the merchandise a second or would not pass inspection for resale.

After a protective layer then consider a second layer just to ensure safe delivery.

If the merchandise could be damaged by dropping, hard merchandise, then consider a layer of peanuts or bubble wrap that would give a layer of safe movement through a rough ride.

If extremely fragile  merchandise is being considered for delivery, then stop and think again.  You may want to deliver it personally.  Talk to the carriers and see what they would suggest for packaging.  I personally know that some of them will package it for you, usually for an extra amount, but it might be worth it to have someone that is knowledgeable to complete the packaging process.

2. Insurance.

Cover the product with insurance through delivery for the amount you expect to get out of selling the item.  Remember you will probably have to make another one to replace the broken product.

3. Include Shipping costs in your original selling price or as an add on for the buyer.  Some one has to pay for it, it might as well not be you.

4. Signature confirmation Is a reasonable request.  It insures that your package arrived to it’s destination.  If you are really concerned, request a specific signature.

5. Follow up on the delivery.  Make a call to see that all arrived to the merchant’s expectations.  This is also a time to possibly further your sales and recommendations, both for other buyers and future sales.

6. Follow up with damaged product, file for insurance if needed, see if you can make amends for broken product by extending the time limit on delivery for a new product.  This is the time to show that you stand behind your product.

If you are serious about a business, now is the time to step up.  Make it good, Make it right.

“The customer is always right” is an old slogan almost out of style, Bring it back into style.  Increase your reputation and make your business stronger.

Until next time, Wishing you the best…

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Crafters, Artists, Seamstresses (part 3)

(cont.)

5. Pricing your items

There is a term used for retailers called “Keystone.”  You take the price of an item and triple it.  1/3 of the price allows for replacement of said item, 1/3 of the price is for an additional item to be added and the last third is divided by your profit and overhead.

This same formula can be used for the home-made product.  The problem is that by using this formula you sometime over price a product.

The price of materials can fluctuate in cost depending on how, when and where you purchase them.

Once a product is in the finished stage, look for materials that can be bought in bulk at the closest location possible. Gas prices as well as shipping come into the equation if you have to drive or have the materials shipped over a long distance. Purchase the materials in the season that they are available or during closeout for reduced prices.  Just be careful that the materials will be continually offered or else you will have to change the product or take it off the market because of unavailability.

First and foremost is the demand for the item. You can charge whatever you want to for a product, but, if the public doesn’t like the item then it will not sell, whatever the price.  Then again, if it is a trending item you could probably ask what ever you would like to for a popular product.  One day it is in style and the next day it is not!  Get what you can for it while it lasts.

6. Materials

 The type of materials used can also stipulate the price of an item. Natural Materials like clay can be purified at home making it free to cost with only labor involved.  The same applies to leaves and flowers.  It just takes the time to grow or collect them.  Then when completed the Product will bring a higher profit margin, at the same time they can be marketed or advertised as “All Natural” and the price can be adjusted to a trending item price just as “Made in the USA” is a marketing idea and by itself can help in selling the item at a higher price.

 Be aware of the trending items as you make your product.  When sewing I would find that making a period Dress from all cotton material would sell better than a cotton blend. And marketing said dress for Renaissance, Medieval or LARP costuming was considered a high trending item because of Renaissance or Medieval Faires.

 7. Fear

One factor that make pricing or marketing your product impossible is that age-old adversary, FEAR!  Learn to take a chance once in a while and you might find that you will sell more products.  Don’t let Fear of failure stand in your way.  What is the worst that can happen?  Not selling your wares!  You haven’t sold anything yet so there is nowhere to go but Up!  Try it you might like it.

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Crafters, Artists, Seamstresses, (part2)

3. Time Management

You work at home, now, so any time you have is usually devoted to work. With that said, it is the way you use the time that will make the difference.  If you are jumping from one thing to another it doesn’t make a dent in the progress that needs to be accomplished.

When I am making a batch of elephants, for instance, I have found that sewing all the eyes at one time, on fifty different elephants, saves time because of the same color of thread being used. Or sometimes a different type of foot on the sewing machine is used. Therefore, I save time, cutting down the times threads and feet on the sewing machine are changed.

There have been times when I have three sewing machines set up, each one with different colored threads, so that I can go from one machine, on a gliding chair, to the next without changing colored threads.

Take the time to plan your strategy of production. It will save time in the long run.

Looking at the big picture, Production, can you farm out these little, simple things to other people, and save time to pay someone else to do the job? Just think about it.

My Boss had some other Crafters that couldn’t keep up with the orders. With their permission, my Boss hired other Crafters to do part of the labor.  Sometimes she even had the workers pay a deposit for the materials used to be returned when all were completed. This would save on the cost of supplies getting lost in the shuffle of new employees or those that could not do the work and didn’t turn it back in.

One last thing, Even though you are home, schedule your work time.  Remember it is now a job and if you don’t show up for work, you won’t have a job to bring in the money.

4. Investing and Re-investing in your work.

Being a seamstress was only one of the jobs I had.  I also learned to paint wooden ornaments, statues,  and even learned to make ceramics for the same Boss. And I accomplished all of this at home while my kids were growing up.

In order for my own home business to increase I found myself investing in new materials to accomplish these new talents.  I even got so bold as to submit my own lines of work to my boss rather than making just her ideas.  And all of this took a little cash to get started.

But in the long run the investment paid off. Each paycheck I would invest a little bit more into materials and invent new products. Not all of them were accepted, maybe 1 out of 10 was accepted as saleable, but they were my own idea and it gave me a great deal of self worth to know that I accomplished this.

Learning a new trade took a great leap of faith on my part. To go from seamstress to ceramicist was a gigantic leap and quite a bit of reinvestment. A Kiln is not cheap.

Fortunately I did not need a large kiln for what I was going to learn to make.  I could fire up to 300 ornaments at a time in a test kiln.  This job started out as an opportunity to help another artist fill the orders needed for my boss.  Although I was not able to fully copy this other artists work I managed to make enough to help. At the same time I came up with a totally different line of ornaments that took off like a sky rocket in sales.  My new talents paid for a lot more comfort.  The re-investment was worth it.

5. Pricing your items

(continued)

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