What I'm working on now...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

So I ended my stint at the mechanics shop on Thursday, around noon. While I'd like to say I'm sad to be closing this chapter in my life... I'm not. I am so happy to never have to go back there again! While I'm happy to know a little more about cars, and am very proud of myself for persevering through it, I'm so very glad it's over! I am excited to start my new job on Monday morning.

So, between yesterday and today, between grocery shopping trips, making dinner, and cleaning, I made two bathing suits. The first, a pink floral frilly number, and the second a goldenrod malliot (which is my favourite, and I will keep the sample for myself).

I purchased several yards of spandex on line, and it arrived within days! I've been wanting to delve into swim wear for a while now. I've always had a hard time finding bathing suits I am comfortable in. While I am petite, I've got an ample chest, and curvy hips and I feel like I should be on Baywatch or in some sleazy magazine whenever I put on a bikini... not to mention the discomfort of constantly having to make sure your bosom is still covered by the little fabric triangles...

I'm thinking these will be much more my style... besides, if you ask me, a little modesty is very, very sexy.

Besides swimsuits, I've been working on another soft bra, and filling orders. Last week I got a ton of orders that I am trying to get finished up before starting my new job.

For now... I have a headache. Time to curl up on the couch and enjoy some relaxation time!

And remember, tomorrow I draw for the Give Away winner!


Monday, April 25, 2011

So I posted a few more items on Sense of Fashion this morning...

And checked their Facebook Page this afternoon, and there I was!

What a nice surprise... One of the perks to joining a community a little less saturated than Etsy (Not that I don't love Etsy, because I do!). I thought that was great that they high light new sellers on their facebook page. I don't get a lot of views over there (no sales yet!), but I hope they gain in some popularity. I do love Etsy, I love the look, like the layout, mostly love the community, but it is really great to have an alternative.

My Heartsy deal has been voted on and has gone to the official Heartsy Judges. I guess I'll find out in the next few days if they are interested. Still kind of uncertain about this whole business, but we will see how it goes!

My last few days at the day job seem to be long and drawn out. It's nearly 4:00 and I still have 3 hours to go! I'm really excited about starting my new job, and really looking forward to regular 9-5 hours again.

Official Give Away Post!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It seems my Ruffle Bloomers are the most sought after panties I make... so, I am giving a pair away! These normally sell for $30-$40 in my Etsy Shop, but you get a chance to win a pair, in your size for free, free, free!

The ruffle bloomer panties will be made in your choice of small (32-34" hip), medium (35-37" hip), or large (38-40" hip).

Comment on this post for your chance to win! I will run the contest from today, Sunday, April 24, and close a week later, on Sunday, May 1st.

Here is the one catch... I am keeping the fabric choice top-secret! But, I promise, they will be lovely.

Remember, you are not winning the panties shown above, but brand new, top secret, FBI cover-up, never seen before Ruffle Bloomer!

Comment here with your name and email address, I will do a random number draw after closing next Sunday. Good luck to everyone!

Thanks to everyone for celebrating all my ups and downs with me and cheering me on along the way!

EDIT: I will ship this anywhere in the world!

Wedding Place Cards and Easter x2!

Yesterday, after work, Dan and I did some running around to get the materials for place cards for the wedding. I realized just the other day that it is just over 4 months until the wedding and I wanted to start getting some of the crafty things out of the way so I am not stressing out (too much) in the weeks prior to the big day!

I really wanted to somehow incorporate photo-props into the wedding, so we decided for place cards we would make moustaches, beards, and funny lips. So we purchased some felt, dowel, bristol board, and a hot glue gun.

I printed out moustache, beard, glasses, and lips shapes onto some card stock, cut around the shapes, which created my template (Martha Stewart has some templates on her website). I double-sided taped the felt to my sheet of bristol board, traced the templates onto the bristol board and cut out my shapes. I then peeled back parts of the felt from the card stock to hot-glue my sticks between the layers. For the names, we used photo corners from the dollar store, and printed out our guest list. I made a couple up to see how they would look finished and I'm quite happy! We will stick one of these in each glass at the tables so guests can find their seats.

My wedding invitations are printed and ready to be addressed! It's too early to send them, but they are ready to go. I feel so much better having a few more things checked off the list. Next is flower girls dresses, which I am making, and Dan's suit!

Today Dan and I spent Easter with his family in the morning, and my family later in the afternoon. We had two ham dinners and I am so very, very full. I am so lucky to have such wonderful families! It was a fun day filled with chocolate-fuelled children. When I leave from my family gathering, I'm left feeling so grateful, which I think, is a rare, and awesome thing.

The Most Frustrating thing I've done in a while...

Friday, April 22, 2011

This piddley little map was the most frustrating thing to do. We are getting married in a park, and I wanted to include a little map of the ceremony location, reception, and some major landmarks, so people can find the location easily. There's nothing worse than arriving at a wedding and having no idea where you're going...

This task was much easier said than done. I do not, at the moment, have Photoshop, so I created this entirely with Paint and Picnik. It just goes to show, with a little patience, you don't really need all the fancy, expensive equipment. Sure it's not perfect, but it'll work! I traced a Google Map with a fine tipped marker, scanned it in, and in paint layered the clipart. In picnik... or maybe I just used Picasa, I added the text in a random 'Hand' font. I printed them out on left over rsvp and invitation cards (which I then carefully cut in half) and they ended up looking pretty cute... not bad for Paint!

I am happy to say, after a full days work, I am nearly completed my wedding invitations. They are all printed... now it's just a matter of tying a pretty, purple ribbon around 60 invites, addressing them, and adding the proper postage.

Invites, by far, have been the most annoying part of the wedding-prep process! That being said, I am looking forward to getting my first RSVPs back in the mail!

Experimenting in steep discounts!

I submitted a deal to Heartsy.

I'm not entirely sure how this works, but I will figure it out as I go.

Ps. Happy Easter.

Long, Productive Day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ok, I am finally winding down for the day. I think I sewed for 12 hours straight, with breaks here and there to take Oliver out for pee-breaks. When I have my sewing marathon, little Oliver always perches himself on the back of the couch and watches, snoring and snorting and sneezing and making weird pug noises. Gosh I love that dog!

I finished off two custom orders, both bra and panties sets. The lace ruffle one is my favourite. I just love frothy, gathered lace! The sad part of today though is...

I am completely out of the Swiss dot for the black set, and only have enough floral fabric for one last pair of ruffled lace panties... and hopefully I can source the same lace again because I used all of it today too!

In better news, my bridesmaids dresses arrived today! We will pick them up on Wednesday and I will do any alterations that the girls might need. I really hope my dress comes in soon, as I would like to start on alterations - which I will pay an actual alterations seamstress to do!

I have one more week at my job before I start my new PR position. I am looking forward to a Monday to Friday 9-5 job again, with no worry about overtime. It will be so nice to be able to come home, and have time to cook dinner. No more 11 hour days!

Lastly, I think Dan and I are going to buy a new car. I've never spoken about our car before... but it has a lot of character, being a mechanics car. All of the electronic devices hang by wires out of the doors (auto-locks and windows, etc), the back doors have no interior handles because we had to put them on the front, when they broke, the heat is operated by reaching underneath the passenger side dash... Yep, it's got a lot of character! Here's hoping we can get this new car before summer road trip season, which will start with a drive to Quebec in June.

Two New Sets!

I found a seersucker plaid that, I swear, is exactly the same fabric that I had a shirt made out of when I was just a kid. I wore that shirt to the Oro Worlds Fair (yes, an honest to goodness Worlds fair), in the parade that kicked off the ceremonies. I love that shirt. I still remember, my mom tied a ribbon in my hair that day!

I added little navy floral ruffles to the hip (I don't think I can sew anything without a ruffle), and navy floral flaps to the bra.

I think it turned out really cute, and it totally reminds me of a country fair. Speaking of which, I must make an effort to go to the Oro Worlds Fair this year! I am thinking about lining the bottoms and making the sample into a swimsuit for myself. I lined the cups in super-soft jersey so the bra could be worn alone.

I have also been eyeing this fabric for a while now... It is soft, gauzy, and the perfect shades of blue with an accent of red. I should have bought more because I would really like to make a summery dress out of it. It is light as air!

I added little tiny blue bows to the hip, at the side seam. I used the prettiest fold-over elastic. I like to use fold-over elastic the best, but find it hard to source locally. It finishes so much nicer. This one in particular has a picot edge, and a little bit of iridescent glitter - it completes the sea side look.

I've listed these in my Etsy shop at separates and a set! The serger is making my life so much easier, I'm not sure how I ever survived without it. I can sew a set so much faster than I could before.

Give away?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

To celebrate my 98th blog follower, 50th facebook fan, 1200th shop heart, coming up on my 30th sale, new equipment, new job, (maybe a new car too!)... I'm wanting to hold another Give Away! As you may remember, in the midst of my first give-away my grandmother passed away and my dad had a heart attack. I got an email from the winner when she received my gift, she was so happy and pleased with them that it really brought a ray of sunlight to all of the doom and gloom...

So, I would like to hold another one.

There will be two give-aways. The first, a 10% off coupon code - which pretty much gets you free shipping on any item in my shop. The second, I would like an input on. I've posted a Poll on my Facebook Page

Would you like ruffle bloomers? A Ruffle cotton thong (these are super comfortable, I promise!)? A Surprise Item? Let me know what the consensus is and I will make an OFFICIAL GIVE AWAY POST this Sunday!

New Job, New Serger, New Panties!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Yesterday I bought a serger; a Pfaff Hobbylock. I am in love! It is easy to thread, easy to adjust, and overlocks beautifully. I don't know how I lived without one. I also purchased a shirring foot for my sewing machine, another item which I'm not sure how I lived with out. It gathers, while sewing the ruffle onto the garment at the same time. No one else seems to understand how completely awesome that is!

Yesterday I finished up orders and went to a Job Interview.

Today I sewed two new items, and found out that I got the Job! Public Relations! I am super excited to begin a 9-5... but don't worry, I still still have time for Ohhh Lulu. I will be working the same amount of hours, in a much more stimulating field.

I was also interviewed for a fantastic blog. I would love you to go over and read the interview at Petal+Handmade=Love. Brianne makes some utterly adorable kids clothes and is taking on interviewing other handmade sellers. Definitely one to keep an eye on!

Analytics, Pricing, Front Pages...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I've had Google Analytics set up on my Etsy Page from Day 1. I normally get about 180 hits a day to my shop. Those huge spikes are front page features. You can see my hits go from about 180-200 all the way up to 1500-2000 hits. I find Google Analytics really useful. Firstly, it is free to use and simple to install on Etsy, far easier than it was on blogger (which was still pretty easy). It is great to be able to see where your hits are coming from as well. For instance, this morning I saw a new referral; a Danish blog that had featured a selection of ruffly, Ohhh Lulu panties! Conversely, you could also see if someone was saying something not-so-nice about you. Everyone has a critic.

I've been getting a lot more front page features lately, and it coinsides directly with my becoming more involved in Teams. When I first started Etsying in October, I would make a few treasuries here and there, and be featured in probably one or two a day. Yesterday, I woke up to 22 Etsy emails, 9 of which were treasury notifications... and that was just over night! Teams provide really a supportive community, and a way for you to promote other artists that you admire.

I am really, really happy with the response I've been getting. My clothing is something I've always poured my heart and soul into.

I have a lot planned for the next few months.

First, I'm going to buy a serger on Thursday. I am thinking of buying a Pfaff Hobbylock overlock machine. It does not do a coverlock stitch, but my sewing machine, which is a Pfaff Expressions does every stitch in the book, and it even has a coverlock foot and an automatic ruffler, both of which I also plan on picking up. If anyone has ever used one of these Hobbylock machines, I'd love to hear a review.

Second, I want to do a swimwear line. I have two yards of adorable, hula-girl printed spandex that would make a really cute malliot bathing suit. I hate buying bathing suits. I'm petite, but curvy and feel like I'm showing way too much in a bikini, but one-piece suits are just too plain. I want to make a happy medium, cute and pretty.

Third, I want to get into more stores - which I've been saying for a while. I am considering putting my shop on vacation mode so I can get caught up, and then get a head. I also want to add more "every day" items, including bra and panties sets, camisoles, shorts, and hair accessories.

Fourth, I've been thinking a lot about how things are priced. How to stay competitive, fair, and still get paid for my expertise. How do you decide how you will price something. I learned in school, and read on the Fashion Incubator website that you calculate prices this way: a) total of all raw materials (fabric, notions, cutting, sewing cost i.e.labour, label, ) x 2 = wholesale price* b) wholesale price x 2 = suggested retail price** I am not selling at suggested retail if you were to figure out costs this way. So, my next goal is to figure out how to lower my cost of materials (buying in volume, etc) to maintain a reasonable price. I'm really interested in how other people break down prices.
I've made a lot of headway on wedding planning and feel like I've got everything under control with lots of time to spare. I bought my shoes on the weekend, blush pink strapy shoes with a small heel. I purchased some glittery applique's to make the girls some headbands.

I am also considering taking some vacation time off work to get myself a head a bit... but that will have to be run by the boss!

Inspired by? or Theft?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Something that has always been scary to me, about being a designer, is how easy, and without repercussion it is for people to steal your ideas and run with them. Manufacturers in Asia reproduce designer goods at a fraction of the cost, YSL is being sued by Christian Louboutin for "stealing" his signature red sole.

This got me to thinking... Do I have any license over a ruffle? Over sized bow? I have license over my garment as a whole, but people are free to make things in their likeness, as long as they do not pass it off as an Ohhh Lulu original.

I think this kind of sucks. Though I know there is really no way to control this. We are all inspired by something!

I think alot about how I can make Ohhh Lulu stand out as a unique and different apparel company and I think a lot of it comes from the quality. I finish my side seams with self-bound French seams. Items get pressed with a hot iron, free of wrinkles (I see so many items on Etsy that have not been ironed and it breaks my heart). Fabrics are bias cut so they fit and are comfortable (and the drape of fabric cut on the bias just sends shivers down my spine!). Elastics are basted then sewn on for a professional edge. Etc, etc...

I guess with a little success I'm starting to see some similar items popping up on the great world wide web. At first, I kind of wanted to cry because Ohhh Lulu is my baby, it's been growing in my brain for years and years and years and I don't want anyone to steal it away from me. Then I was mad, because sometimes these items were a lot cheaper than I am willing to go so people are buying, not knowing the difference. Then I sulked a little, and had a nap...

Then, I realized what sets me apart.. Two gruelling years, late nights of sewing until I thought my eyes might fall out of my head, lessons on couture techniques, and my own unique little brain, set me apart enough and I don't really need to worry about competition.

And then I thought... have I ever stolen an Idea?

When I first started selling on Etsy, I named one of my items "The icing on the cake"... Then I realized, to my horror, a long time Etsian, Toadlillie, had already used this name. I was mortified at my mistake and I changed it. I think the most important thing about being a good designer is being different. We all adapt and change with trends, but blatantly taking something that worked for someone else and using it for yourself, is just boring and lacks creativity.

How do you react when you see someone taking liberties with your creative ideas? Do you believe in the old cliche, imitation is the highest form of flattery? Have you ever called out someone for infringing on an idea? I'm curious to hear other people's experience with these ideas, whether it be an awesome dress you sewed and someone knocked off, or a business idea at work that a co-worker called their own.

In closing, I'd like to say, I'm surprised at YSL for stealing the red sole. It's really a faux pas and is an obvious Louboutin signature - you don't even have to be a fashionista to know this. They should have stuck with other colours... or floral!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

So, I am at work... I can't remember the last time I had a Saturday off! I miss my 9-5!

Ohhh Lulu has been crazy busy lately. I've got a pile of things to get sewing, plus my brain is swimming with new ideas... scallops, rhinestones, slinky silks and laces... The more and more I think of it, the more and more I want to give Ohhh Lulu more of my time. It's such a scary venture, going into business alone, but with hardly any advertising or promotion I am already doing way better than I ever dreamed. I keep thinking, if I were to focus on advertising, production, getting into more stores, I could really do this! Such a scary, exciting thought! My dream coming true...

This morning, while at work, I ordered new clothing labels and some custom printed ribbon, as well as some beaded applique's to make hair pieces for my bridesmaids. My mom stopped by my work this morning and surprised me with a coffee and a my Grandmothers wedding band, which I will cherish!

I had an email about another great blog this morning. If you have a chance, please stop by and have a visit to FemmePetal's blog! In my morning Etsy surfing, I stumbled upon this Ring by DEVINEsweetness :

And I think I'm in love. She also has the cutest coffee cup and croissant bobby pins that would just look too cute in my hair! I am desperatly trying to resist the temption to just buy them right now, since I have recently purchased tickets to see The Vinyl Cafe, and want to buy a serger and a new camera!

Busy as a Bee

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I have been so busy lately! Filling orders, photographing and listing new items. This one is my favourite.

I listed my first item on the Sense of Fashion website. I will need to add more over there, but one item is at least, a start.

Dan and I have made awesome wedding headway, finalizaing the guestlist, and planning out our big day. I can hardly believe it is 5 months away! The time is flying by so fast, but not fast enough! I am really excited about the wedding and all the fun things to come after.

Wedding Crafting

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I was so happy on Friday, my stamp from Love to Create Stamps on Etsy found its way to my mail box. It came right in time, because I've been in the mood to do something a little crafty, as a slight break from sewing nothing but panties.

So, I grabbed 3 yards of muslin, a ball of jute twine, a yard of duppioni silk, a yard of black grosgrain ribbon, and various other trimmings and made my bird seed confetti bags, ring cushion, and garter.

I love the stamp, it prints so nicely on the muslin. I made about 30 bags today and it only took me about an hour. I will do one more batch another day and that will be it. We will hand these out with our programs and guests can keep them as mementos or use the seeds as confetti. I am also going to use the stamp on our programs, along with a "marrying" picture that Dan's niece drew.

I got the idea for our pillow cushion from Martha Stewart. In all of my wedding researching, I tend to like her projects the best. The pillow went together so easily, and is so cute. I made mine a little bigger than the suggested 6x6 and cut out 8x8 squares instead.

Lastly, I made up a small garter, which includes my something Blue (now that I cannot, for the life of me, find the Pour La Victoire Shoes in my size anywhere). I still need to make a toss garter, as I think I'd like to keep this one as a keepsake.

We stopped in a suit store today and started looking at suits. We are thinking a black suit with a fine pin stripe, white shirt and tie, and a coordinating pocket square. Dan looks incredibly handsome in a nice jacket, I can't wait to see him in a full suit! It will be the first time I've ever seen him in one!

Blog Love

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I wanted to share a few blogs that featured some of my work. The first is Simply Colette , she included a really nice little write up about what I do, which really made my day! Secondly is, Prairie Seed, which featured one of my photos. Their blog is absolutely stunning, simple and elegant! I've spent some time this morning drooling over their blog! I was also over at PetalHandmade. Looking at her kids clothes makes me want to have kids even more! So cute! I can't wait til Dan and I have little ones to dress.

Lastly, I love this treasury, and I wanted to share it with you.

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