Friday, May 13, 2016

The Circle of Handmade

How to stop obsessing about your small business social media results (or lack thereof) and feel better about life and handmade products!

 Picture an African savannah at sunset. An elderly monkey hoisting a lion cub in the air, Elton John singing in the background...the circle of…

….screeeeeeech!!!!....

The circle of life is important, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about a different kind of circle and I can't help the word associations in my head sometimes!

So, pull up a chair and let's chat about the circle of handmade!




The first step is easy and free...awesomesauce!

STEP 1 SUPPORT OTHER HANDMADE BUSINESSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is me on social media “scroll, scroll, scr...ooooh pretty...LIKE… scroll, scroll...[types] gorgeous...scroll, scroll...my lovely friends/fans/followers need to see this...SHARE…”

For some reason, a lot of people don't have time or energy to do the like, comment and share thing. Yeah, yeah “quality content” and whatnot...I quit trying to play Facebook's mind games on my page because it was a huge time suck and I feel like it's a game I cannot win. These days, instead of obsessing over the number of likes and comments on my own FB page, I post what I want, when I want and focus my energies on supporting other handmade pages in the hope that some of that good karma will come back around.

Just find some pages with pretty stuff, follow them, throw out some likes, comment here and there and occasionally share their things on your personal page or retweet, repin...you get the idea. Interact, share...feel love!

If you haven't already, connect with a handmade BFF or even a group of like-minded handmade-making BFFs who share your ideology about supporting other handmade pages. I'm fortunate to have a few including my Handmade Nashville besties, Chic Threads & Things (sadly defunct due to the a-hole Facebook algorithms) and the lovely Southern Funk, maker of gorgeous boho handmade jewelry.

Don't expect your handmade friends to buy your stuff though (although it's nice if they do) because like you they probably spend all their cash on yarn/fabric/beads etc. What your handmade friends CAN do is help you network and spread the handmade love.


STEP 2 BUY HANDMADE

OK, this one is a little harder, but take a deep breath and spend the extra money to buy something handmade once in a while. Start small with something you were going to buy anyway. A pair of earrings, some lip balm...just dooooo itttt!

Think about it, you've been working your derriere off trying to convince strangers on the internet that YOUR handmade stuff is better quality, more unique than cheap “junk from China” so extend that logic to other handmade items and support another handmade seller with your hard-earned handmade income...do it, it feels great I promise!

Each time that you buy handmade, you are strengthening the handmade culture and emboldening a fellow small business person; possibly giving them the extra cash to buy something handmade from another seller.

We've all seen the meme “support a small business and you're buying dance lessons or helping pay for college…” it’s been shared so many times that its become a bit cheesey, but guess what? It's TRUE!

Support other handmade businesses as you would wish to be supported!


Find the energy to pause in your scrolling to bestow some social media love every day and find a handmade alternative for something you were going to buy anyway and just click that “add to cart” button. Pay it forward!


That, my friend, is the circle of handmade! GO forth and circulate!

Want to join MY circle? Come introduce yourself on one of my social medias!
Facebook. com/Beckitybootique
Twitter.com/Beckitybootique
@beckitybootique on Instagram

How do YOU spread the handmade love? Feel free to share below in comments ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TUTORIAL Mexican Girl Scout Uniform for Thinking Day (Girl Guide, Guia)

I searched long and hard for a tutorial to make a Mexican Girl Scout outfit for our American Girl Doll for this year's Girl Scout Thinking Day. It didn't seem to be a thing, so I came up with one...you're welcome the internet!

 After some intense pinteresting, I found this sweet picture of some Mexican Girl Guides (Guias in Spanish).

photo from ourcabana.org


 Interestingly, newborn size onesies make perfect no sew t-shirts for 18” dolls….who knew?? Check out this blog for other ideas on AG no sew shirts. Read on for how to take the onesie method and make a no sew Mexican Girl Scout uniform!


 Mexican Girl Guide Uniform for 18" Dolls -You Will Need: 


  • One plain white newborn size onesie 
  • Fabric scissors or sharp kitchen scissors 
  • Fabric pen or Sharpie marker 
  • Piece of cardboard approx 5 ½” x 7” (a flattened GS cookie box works well!) 
  • Glue gun 
  • Scraps of ⅜” ribbon 
  • Tiny buttons or scraps of felt 
  • One 1” safety pin 
  • Scrap of red fabric at least 24” x 9” or use a fat quarter 


Shirt 


Before starting first have a bit of a cry when you realize how small a newborn onesie is and that your babies aren't babies any more (unless they are, in which case kudos to you for crafting with a newborn around!), then on to today's business!  Make sure the fabric on the onesie doesn't have any wrinkles...you can iron it or just smooth it out really well so the front and back are flat and equal


  1. Measure 4” down form each armpit and make a small dot on the shirt 
  2. Take a ruler and draw a straight line between your marks 
  3. Cut across your line making sure the front and back are equal 
  4. Place the cardboard inside the shirt so that the marker doesn't leak through the fabric 
  5. Starting at the back right shoulder, start writing the word “GUIAS” in letters about ½” high in a straight line across the shirt
  6. Leave a ½” space and then write “GUIAS” again 
  7.  Repeat until you get to the other side of the shirt 
  8. Leave a space of about ½” and start a new line, keep repeating until you run out of room 
  9. Turn the shirt over and repeat on the front 
  10. For the arms, I started at the front, near the neckline with the sleeve hem facing towards me...there's not a lot of space, but the idea is to make it look like printed fabric so just write partial words and keep the same spacing you used for the main part of the shirt 

*Optional: you can hem the bottom edge of the shirt if you want to, but it's up to you since t-shirt fabric won't fray (yay!)

 Neckerchief 


  1. Cut the red fabric into a diamond shape approximately 24” x 9” (it doesn't need to be exact) I used pinking shears to prevent fraying...other options include “fray check”, hemming the raw edges or doing a zig zag stitch across the raw edge...or you could just leave it 
  2. Heat up the glue gun 
  3. Cut a piece of ribbon about 2 ½” long 
  4. Make a loop with the ribbon and glue the end down 
  5. When the glue is dry, fold the red fabric in half long ways and roll it into a tube, bring the two long ends together and loosely pull the ribbon loop through the ends of the fabric 

 Insignia Pin 

  1. Cut a piece of ribbon about 2” long 
  2. Cut the ends into a point (you can seal the ends of the ribbon with fray check or a lighter...be careful!!)
  3. Pull one end of the ribbon through the safety pin 
  4. Glue the two ends of the ribbon together so that they form a loop around the pin with the ends of the ribbon hanging down 

Optional: glue on some little buttons or scraps of felt to look like Girl Scout insignia


 Done! All you have to do now is get your doll dressed and she's ready for Thinking Day! We dressed our Josefina doll in some cute leggings and sparkly sneakers from Hobby Lobby, but you could have her wear any kind of pants or a skirt.



 Happy Thinking Day!

For more crafty ideas and handmade fun join me on twitter or instagram!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

TEST - DO NOT READ!

nothing to see here...move along...these are not the droids you're looking for!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Reverse Side of "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it"

I’m #sorrynotsorry about not having blogged in a while. I’ve been doing what works for me and these things are:

1. Trying to get enough sleep
2. Keeping up with my somewhat crazy kiddos
3. Writing on Fiverr
4. Working out ways to get more sleep!

 For real, I’ve been fantasizing about leaving the kids with the hubs overnight and checking into a hotel by myself just so I can get more than four hours of sleep in a row!!! We “converted” the crib to a toddler bed about six weeks ago and Little Dude has only slept through the night three times since! Total bummer, but that’s not what this post is about so I’ll just suck it up and have another cup of coffee!

 It’s important to note that SEWING does not feature in the above list. Something had to be sacrificed on the altar of sleep and it pains me to admit it, but my time is precious and sewing for Facebook groups and prospective Etsy shoppers is just not a great return on my invested time (and fabric) at this point.

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but copywriting for other etsy shops and small online businesses seems to be working out right now (touch wood, cross fingers etc!). I’m enjoying it and, thanks to my new tablet, I can do it in the midst of kid chaos. It’s kind of a winner by all accounts so I’m going to transfer my creative energy fully into that and expand my writing empire by launching my writing services through my Etsy shop (not sure why it took me ten months to realize I could do that!!).

New Year seems to be a good time to make the change! (Yes, I realize it's February already!!!)

 I’m still going to sew (because honestly I don’t know how to stop! I constantly have sewing project ideas running through my head!), but mostly for my own kids and maybe even a few things for myself! I’m also still going to continue to love and support my handmade friends in any way I can on the social medias.

 That is the plan until there’s a new plan! Get a load of my exciting new Etsy listings and banner!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fun for Fall Double Layer Skirt: Purples and Paisleys and Teal…Oh MY! (NEW in my Etsy Shop)


Technically it’s not fall yet, but we’ve had something of a taste of the changing seasons here these past few weeks.  The leaves have started to turn (nice!) and the weather’s been a teeny bit cooler (aka you can get inside your car without feeling like you will suffocate because the air inside is a million degrees!).  On the negative side of this, it rained for an entire week and we’ve all got seasonal allergies and/or upper respiratory junk going on (luckily tissues and cough drops are on sale right now!!) :( .

It’s a bit tough trying to get good product pictures when the sun is M.I.A., but I had a touch of inspiration when it came to this gorgeous fall skirt that I made for the “Fall Out of Summer” event at Chic Threads & Things . Munchkin #2 and I grabbed umbrellas and rain boots and headed out to splash around while Lil Dude was napping.  The result?  Fun times and some great pictures!!



I absolutely LOVE this skirt!  True story: It has a stretchy waistband and I can fit into it, but it looks much cuter on her!!!

The skirt has the amazingly awesome pattern on the outer skirt…check it out!  There are so many wonderful colors for fall in the print; purple-ish/eggplant (aka aubergine for the Europeans!), turquoise, teal, orange, white and black.  It’s easy to find a top to match ;)  Plus it has the same purple-ish color on the underskirt (although I could make it with a different color underskirt – teal perhaps?) and a sweet little pickup tie on the side so that the underskirt peeks out.  It has superb twirl factor and, as you can see, is a lot of fun for puddle jumping!! 


I made this skirt with school in mind, but it’s fancy enough to wear to a party or church with a cute top and some shiny or sparkly shoes.  It can be worn with leggings and boots for fall, tights in winter and sandals in spring…so versatile!



It’s available now in sizes 2T – 10 through my Etsy shop.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Handmade Heroes or Why I Love Writing Etsy Listings for Other Shops!

The word on the street from my crafty friends is that writing Etsy listings totally and utterly S.U.C.K.S!  I must be quite “cray cray” then because I have a great time writing listings!  The geek in me enjoys researching keywords and learning about SEO and somehow the words to describe lovely handmade items just flow out of me into the keyboard!



It is therefore quite fortunate that I have found and fallen in love with Fiverr.  I blogged a little about it a few weeks ago in my Waaasup World catch up post, but I sincerely am enjoying getting involved with these other talented handmade shops.    It’s lovely to see what other people make and are successful at selling and it’s also quite heartwarming to see that small Etsy shops can make it in a world full of “crap from China”.

I can’t list them all because I’ve been fortunate to be quite busy with these, but here are a few of my recent “gigs”. 

Blinged Up Shoes from Wicked Attraction:

Oh my goodness, these are beyond amazing!  These ladies really do have some wicked talent!  I almost want to get married again just so I can have a pair of these ;)  *

Lovely Handmade Wrought Iron yard sculptures from Alain’s Blacksmith Shop
Such great quality, beautiful items and it’s good to see an old-fashioned skill such as a blacksmithing being kept alive for new generations!



Leather Smartphone covers by Kylie Lam Leather

I STILL don’t have a smartphone (although stay tuned, I think my “dumbphone” is on its last legs ) but if I did have one, I’d be sorely tempted to get one of Kylie’s lovely hand sewn cases for it!  Great colors and awesome craftsmanship!




I’ve also had a few requests to write blog posts recently.   Look out for another post here with more details and a few shout outs on those Fiverr gigs.

If you’re reading this and you’d like me to help you with your Etsy or website listings or you’d like me to write a blog post for you, please check me out on Fiverr.  All of my Etsy listings are "synchronized" for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that keywords are in the right places to get your listings noticed.





*p.s. For the record;  I have no intention of getting married again!

Note: I get paid for writing through Fiverr, but receive nothing for doing shout outs like this.





Sunday, August 9, 2015

Doll Sleeping Bag and Pillow Set: NEW in my Etsy Shop

Two blog posts in one day????  Wowzas!


OK, so my experiment with a “blog shop” may or may not be working out…it’s a work in progress!  But anyhoo, now that summer is drawing to a close (sob, my favorite season), I decided to try and make friends with Etsy again.  In years past it has been much busier  for me in the fall and early part of winter.

With that in mind, I just listed my “totes adorbs” doll sleeping bag and pillow set.



LITTLE GIRLS LOVE THIS!

Trust me, my newly 10-year old daughter squealed in excitement for about 5 minutes and dashed off to her room to play with it as soon as she tore off all the tissue paper!  I really wish I could have a time machine and go back and give this to my 10-year old self*.  I would have had so much fun, but I’m really digging that Munchkin #1 is not too grown up to still play with dolls.  Happy days!!

I can make these in the Michael Miller Paris fabrics or the pink and blue birdie fabrics.  I’ll also be listing the matching doll pjs soon!



If you’re a crafty type and want to make your own, the pattern is from Schoolhouse patterns  ;) but if you’d like to save yourself the trouble and/or are not into sewing, you can buy mine here.



* and an American Girl doll, because I grew up in the UK and we didn’t have them. Oh and there is no way on this EARTH that my parents would have paid that much for a doll…I question my own sanity sometimes in buying them for my girls, but they’re soooo pretty and I get mine on ebay....booya!



**updated to add:  this blog post is part of the Handmade Nashville Blog Link Up 8/13/15 **