Monday, July 25, 2011

Updated my FAQ page....finally

Did you know I have a FAQ page??  It's nothing magically or fancy (maybe someday) but I do like to think it's helpful!  For the most part I send people there for yarn shop recommendations but there are a few other topics there.  Just wanted to let you know in case you've never checked it out before!  Have other questions??  Just let me know, maybe they'll be added to the page!  
You can always find the page HERE.

Where do I get my yarn?  
For the majority of my patterns I try to use a yarn that is good quality, washes and wears well, and is readily available.  My favorite acrylic is Vanna's Choice, it's soft and readily available in most hobby stores.  I also will occasionally use I Love This Yarn (Hobby Lobby) but I have to check my gauge because it crochets a bit smaller for me.  As for delicious hand spuns...well, I am not completely committed to only one supplier, but I do tend to stick with a few and order from others from time to time.  I mean really, there are so many amazing fiber artists out there with so many delicious yarn choices I can't commit!  You can find tons on Etsy, Ravelry, ArtFire as well as on .com sites.  When looking I typically search with words such as 'handpun', ‘thick thin’, ‘thick and thin hand spun’, ‘hand spun merino’ etc...  I am totally obsessed with 2 ply worsted or dk weight hand spun right now as well!  
Remember Google is your friend.  Search it, you’ll find a ton.
The main shops I order from regularly are:
Dee of HeartstringsbyDee, Ny of ilashdesigns, Shannon of Grand Vally Fibers, and Lynn from FuzzyFibers.  These women are incredibly sweet and supportive.  Fortunately for them (and a little unfortunately for me) they are all very busy and tend to sell their stuff sometimes before it even makes it to their shops.  If I am shopping from Dee or Ny I always search their sold orders and luckily for me both women are typically happy to spin more of something I want.   Fuzzy Fibers really doesn't do custom orders and uploads a few times a month.  Her upload date is in her shop announcement...get there on time, her stuff sells fast!  I do prefer hers for the flower bonnet petals though.  Ny and I have also worked together and she has it down as well!  It really comes down to the project and your preference.  You can't go wrong with any of these ladies!  HeartstringsbyDee and Ilashdesigns also posts their stuff on facebook so if you want to be ahead of the game follow Ny here on facebook and follow Dee on facebook!  For the clown I have purchased from Shannon at Grand Valley Fiber they also have a facebook page.  This is the only place I have purchased yarn for the clown hat so far.
I have tried a few others and been happy as well.  I do tend to only order one my first time to be sure that I like the product without a huge investment.  Nothing worse than buying a ton of yarn only to get it and have it be smaller weight than you thought or to smell like smoke or other stinky stuff!  

{Sidenote:  I have not received any perks from these shops I just love their stuff and like to have shops to send you all too!  That being said I have no problem accepting free yarn in return for my opinion shared here :)  soooo if you want to send me some feel free}
How do you get professional pictures??  
In my opinion photos are the second most important thing to selling well, only behind selling a good product.  How do I get professional photos?  A lot of people will have a different answer or recommendation.  My best advice is to do what works best for YOU.  What works best for me or for someone else may not be best for your shop.   
1.) Trade:  I think this is the most common way people get photos, it is also the most common way to get screwed over.  You send off the item to a photographer in exchange for a few photos of the item.  Typically this is a straight trade, item for photos, no money.  Typically these photos will be watermarked.
2.)  Photographer discount:  offer items at a discounted price in exchange for final photos.  A lot of people will discount a % or the complete price after receipt of the photos.  This is probably the safest route as far as not sending an item out and never receiving pictures but you’d have to find a photographer willing to pay up front.  
3.)  Pay for a shoot.  Don’t have your own models?  Ask your photographer if they know anyone?  Ask friends and family members if they know anyone that would be willing to model.  I have even posted on facebook looking for a particular age/look.  If you are paying full price for a shoot be sure you have a decent amount of items you want shot at the shoot.  I would not expect these photos to be watermarked since you are paying like any other customer but you'd have to check with your photographer as this is likely considered a commercial shoot.
Talk to your family photographer, they may be a great match for you.  Look on Craigslist or other community forums.  Typically (but not always), these are people just starting out, building their portfolio, etc... and more likely to be willing to work with you or even strike a deal.  Be sure to always check their work before contacting or committing to someone.  They may email you asking to trade, you’re excited and race to the post office only to see their work later and not like it at all!  In today’s world so many people think they are photographers and may not be to that level yet.  The first time I work with a new photographer I would only send 1-2 items the first exchange.  Again, you want to be sure you like their work and that you actually get pictures back and in a timely manner.
The main photographer I work with is Ciara Hammonds of Ciara Hammonds Photography.  She is awesome to work with and has become a great friend to me.  Pretty sure my son is in love with her daughter and who could blame him?!?!  You can check her out on facebook, her website, or her blog.  If you are in East Texas check her out!  You won’t be disappointed.  

I have just started working with Jenn Hunter Photography and couldn't be happier!  She does amazing work!  You can check her out on her blogfacebook and website.  If you are in Plymouth, Indiana give her a call!
I also work with Rachel of Sugarshots Photography.  She not only photographs, but crochets her own items.  Rachel is much more brave with color than I am...I always look forward to her items and what she has created for them.  You can find her on facebook, her website, or her blog.  If you are in Connecticut she is a must!

How did you find selling success?
Hard work.  No seriously, a lot of blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, sacrifice and money went into getting my business to where it is.  My family has been very patient with me.  I started IH when I was working full time and had a new baby.  I had little to zero knowledge about selling online.
Do I know everything?  NO 
Do I fail?  YES 
For the most part I have had to learn as I have went along.  Google is my friend and should become your friend too.  The internet is an amazing tool and can truly provide you with almost anything you are looking for.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gypsy Summer I

Vaca so far….Arizona Edition

Yeah, yeah, I promised myself I would blog throughout this vacation so that it would actually get blogged unlike last years, which is still on my ‘to blog’ list. Well 3 weeks in and no blog yet. I suck, I suck but here it is! Vacation 2011 Arizona Edition; or maybe it should be Arizona Edition part 1 since I will be back again and I am sure will have more pictures. Either way, let’s get started!

We left Thursday June 23 around 1am hoping to get as much driving in with the kids sleeping as possible.  I thought the idea was a bit crazy but have to admit my husband was right and it worked out great.  The kids slept for the most part until about 8 am!  There were a few short wake ups and a few feeding stops but overall it went great! 

We stopped in a small town for breakfast and to stretch our legs and back on the road!  Pit stop in El Paso for lunch…McDonalds…mmmm, ok they have a playplace and no matter how dirty they are they got the kids to burn some energy off even though it was 100 degrees out and the playplace was outdoors.  

We loaded the red faced littles back in the truck and it was make or break time.  If we were getting a hotel El Paso was a good stopping point.  It was still really early in the day so we pressed on.  Shocking still the kids did great…until just outside of Tucson.  Things got a little rough from this point on but being just a few hours from our destination we toughed it out, took a few extra breaks, listened to Sawyer scream and did just about anything to attempt to entertain him. 

Pictures from the road.

21 hours after leaving our driveway we pulled into my in-laws.  It was a very long drive but awesome to be there by dinner!  We did a lot of visiting with Chris’s family and my sister and a few friends.  It was been so wonderful to see everyone.  Pictures to come soon :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bringing back the Wanna Make it Wednesday!

Bringing back the Wanna Make it Wednesday!

I haven’t been reading blogs much (since Dex has entered my world) but since I have been on vacation and had other people playing with my kids I have had a little more time to pleasure read.  I found a few awesome things that I am going to share with you…so I can find them on my blog to-do list later because I am nice and share well with others.

First up…I am so totally 100% in love with this project!  Not so much the making of it because I’ll be honest…it looks like quite a bit of work and while the tutorial is good a novice like me would feel more comfortable if it were a little more detailed.  O’well, I love it and NEED to make it!  Check out the project yourself at A Happy Wanderer, which is also one of my new favorite blogs for sure!  Love it!

These are also super cute!  I have seen quite a few similar projects but I just had to share again.  I love fabric-covered headbands!  I think they are super cute and would even make a simple and fun gift.   Alisa Burke shares her tutorial.  Check her out she has beautiful photos and a ton of great posts.

And I am totally in love with this knock off Anthropologie purse.  I am totally thinking this may find it’s way to a loved one for Christmas this year.  I wonder if they would love it as much as I do though?!?!  Either way, if you want to make one too check out The Little Apple Seed for the {FREE} pattern!

Sooo...what do you wanna make??