Sunday, January 31

New Bag Line - Part One

The casual observer will probably not realize that it takes 28 individual steps to complete this bag, from cutting the fabric to punching holes into the leather handles and riveting them to the bag front and back. One also needs almighty strength to actually get a hole punched and then a (w)hole lot of patience trying to get the punched bit out of the hole punch pipe thingy!
I admit, I'm not a fast seamstress. I proceed slowly but precisely. So if you've been wondering why I've been neglecting my blog, well, I've been working on these (I call them 'Fashion bags') and they will form the main category on my new website. I have finished 4 bags so far. Anyone who sews will know that wrestling  six layers of decorator weight fabric and industrial strength interlining underneath the presser foot is not an easy task.

Despite the cuts and bruises on my fingers and the hair loss I'm very pleased with the way they turned out!
I'm not so pleased with my photographic skills, though. The bags look a bit 'flat' in the pictures, while actually they are quite substantial and 'boxy', as you can see in the picture below:

I've tried different angles, but the shape seems to distort. Oh well. I'll keep practising. These bags are a lot of fun! Each bag has a different colour and/or print, contrasting lining, genuine leather handstitched handles, a two-way zipper, metal feet on the bottom, a mobile phone pocket and two multi-functional pockets as well as a snap hook for attaching your keys (you'll never have to grope around looking for them). The bag itself is really sturdy, stands up on its own - you could carry a pair of free weights in it, no problem ;-)

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your day off wherever you are and stay tuned for part two!

Tuesday, January 26

You know it's time for a break when...

1. most of your fingers are wrapped in BandAid (darn tools)

2. you rip out a bunch of hair that got caught in the sewing machine while sewing (ouch)

3. you have nightmares about all the data on your new website vanishing mysteriously...


Tuesday, January 19

Easier said than done!

When I mentioned in my previous post I'd have my new website up soon I was being overly optimistic! Haha. I have completed both German and English texts, the legal stuff, the meta tags, page titles and categories. I work with Joomla - a free open source content management system. It helps if you're already familiar with it. If not, there are tons of tutorials to get you started here.
But a few things are hindering my progress: I'm waiting for certain supplies to be able to complete my new bags. I'm trying to figure out how to get my new email account working (very important for future customer inquiries). The snow has gone, but in its place we have dark, dark clouds and buckets of rain, and since I can't seem to find a suitable daylight lamp photos. I wonder does the light-box work with energy-saving bulbs???
Please bear with me ;-)

Saturday, January 16

Website news...

My new website has been installed and I am super happy with it!
For two years I had wanted my own site, but I found that local companies charged over-the-top-prices for mediocre services. I tried building one myself, but on account of too little web design know-how, I sadly gave up.  The most important criteria for me was that A.) I have complete control over content management and B.) the site is aesthetically appealing and C.) it incorporated a shopping cart system. As luck would have it I was researching web-related stuff on the net, when I came across an article that mentioned the cutest site on the block. The name appealed to me, so I followed the link and immediately knew that I had finally found what I had been looking for for so long. I contacted the owner, Brick, and he was most helpful in answering all my questions and guiding me through the whole ordering process. I knew straight away which template I wanted and although it's not exclusively my own I'm fairly sure it's exclusive here in Germany! Since I needed Euro pricing, Brick installed that for me free-of-charge. In fact, once you buy one of the many packages on offer there are no recurring fees. The websites are geared toward small business owners and interface with Joomla, a popular content management system. The cutest site on the block has great tutorials to get you started, as well as all sorts of SEO-related information.
I will be spending this weekend adding bi-lingual content to my site...and hopefully very soon a new range of products.

Wishing everyone a happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 12

Working with leather

When working with leather you will need a different set of tools than those normally used for sewing fabrics. Most can be found in hardware stores and should include a rubber mallet, hole-punch pliers, a steel rule, heavy-weight scissors or rotary cutter and lots of leather adhesive. Whether handsewing or using a machine--a strong leather needle with a triangular tip will be required. Don't use a jeans needle. A waxed polyester thread of medium thickness will make for strong seams. Seams are never pinned, but fastened with clips or glued before sewing. When machine-sewing it is best to use a Teflon-coated presser foot or a walking foot, since the 'fleshy' side of the leather does not glide along very well. And these are just the basic tools! Leather can be embossed, embellished, coloured, appliquéd or left natural.
I bought a couple of inexpensive tools and am currently experimenting with rivets on my stash of recycled leather. I knew it would come in handy one day! My BIL kindly supplied a metal plate to be used for hammering the rivets on. It is loud, but kind of fun :)

p.s. - for my readers who were wondering about the bio-packaging (see previous post): yes, it is to protect the environment, and 'taking back' packaging means I would have to ask the customer to send back my packaging at my cost, which I then would have to collect for recycling, also at my cost :(
So, bio-packaging it is!

Sunday, January 10

Busy working...

 It's been snowing on and off these last couple of days. Thankfully, living in the most western part of Germany we're better off than the other states. So, while we're cooped up inside I get to work on sundry things that I have been neglecting, like backing up my system and storing vital data on my external drive.

Also, in compliance with the new packaging ordinance I am researching companies that supply 100% biodegradable packaging. Either that, or sign a contract with one of the government affiliated companies and pay them a yearly fee to recycle my packaging. The new ordinance stipulates that I am required to 'take back' the packaging from the customer. By signing the contract I will be exempt from that, however, by using the biodegradable packaging I will be exempt from the ordinance alltogether. Needless to say, the bio-packaging is not cheap! It is also limp, transparent and there are no cartons available as of yet. I guess it's down to what is the cheapest option. What a headache!

To differentiate from Dunibagz, by new bag collection will sell under a new label (see photo). The new line will be mostly solids, incorporate exciting stuff like studs, rivets, conchos, crystals and recycled materials...I think the new name is quite fitting, don't you think?

Friday, January 8

New year, new ideas, new plans - my head is spinning

I have about a million ideas zipping round in my head at any given moment. Some are realized quickly, others in due course, and some are scribbled in my many notebooks - to be implemented at a certain time and date. Then there are those that have been stewing in the background for years. One of these (and I may have mentioned it a couple of times before) is to have my own website. Yes, this is the same goal I had last year and the year before that, but 2009 was not so good for me health-wise, so I had to postpone it indefinitely. Well, today I can say that my health has improved. I feel I have enough energy now to tackle this fervent idea of mine, even though I know there will be days when I will not be able to get up out of bed.
Actually, I'm kind of glad I started my online selling venture on a small scale. It gave me time to hone my customer service skills, analyze markets and trends and to create an 'image'. I also had time to learn a number of important things from other, more experienced online sellers. Naturally, 'going it alone' presents different challenges. To take the pressure off  I have decided not to start from scratch, but to delegate the web-design to people who have the experience and superior know-how. That will free up some time for me to concentrate on what I do best, namely designing and sewing. Along with a new website I will be introducing a completely new bag line (more on that in future posts) exclusively for my website.

Tuesday, January 5

Warm feet at last!

My whooga ugg boots finally arrived from Australia yesterday! And thank goodness for that, because the temperature is dropping rapidly over here. At first I was a bit sceptical about ordering shoes online, because I have narrow feet and these looked huge on the website, but thankfully my boots are a perfect fit and most importantly they are light-weight. Mine are the short version and I went against the current trend by choosing 'sand' rather than 'camel'. I'm very happy with this purchase.

Snow-covered trees...a rare sight in these parts. This view is from my kitchen window.

I will be putting my boots into action this early evening, when I will brave the elements to go grocery shopping.

take care,

Sunday, January 3

Cute sleep masks

My sleep masks are a popular item in my shop. I now offer them as a set with a matching dried lavender-filled heart! Place it near your pillow and you'll sleep like a baby. Sweet dreams guaranteed ;-)

Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 1

First visitors on New Year's Day!

I took these shots on our terrace this morning




cat on the prowl
(probably the huge white cat that roams our neighbourhood)