Sunday, August 29

Website update

Delays, delays...sigh.

So, I spent another afternoon completely revising the postal charges on my site - all because the German Post revised theirs. Depending on the weight of the package, I have now created six different shipping rates for inland, EU and international. For safety's sake I put in the option of  manually adjusting the rate, should something go awry during the ordering process, plus taking the four different shipping zones for int'l into consideration. I feel like I'm about ready to start working at the post office now that I've been studying their rates so intensely!

Remember I talked about putting up a photo of me on my 'about page'? Well, the photos didn't work out. The lighting on that day was completely off, and on that particular day I remember feeling under the weather...funny how that really shows in the pictures. No amount of smiling helped! They are just urggh.
So for the time being I'm putting up a cropped version of my birthday pic.

By now I've realized that a website is an ongoing process. There is an endless amount of stuff you can do with it. So many applications, extenstions etc. I'm just glad I figured out how to make my URL's search-engine friendly! I haven't uploaded all of my bags in the shop section yet and there are a few translations missing here and there, but the main text is all finished. The images of the products differ...still working on finding a consistent sizing for all.
On a positive note, I have added a rate and review function to each product image. You can also ask a question on each product, as well as suggest it to friends via email. I dearly hope I'll have my site up by the end of August, after all I've been paying my monthly hosting fee since January. Now that really bugs me!

So, while I'm putting the finishing touches to my site I also need to get working on two custom orders I received last week. Aarrrgh. I need more hours in the day!


Wednesday, August 25

Modern Hippie

I came up with a two-in-one design for this large carry-all featuring the funky Vintage 70s fabric I mentioned here. In the above photo the bag is shown in its hand-held version - the band around the top part can be pulled out and upward to from two short handles, resulting in a drawstring-like tote. I probably should have pulled out some more to demonstrate, but I only had time for a few quick snap-shots before the next onslaught of rain!

This bag is one of the largest I've ever made. I used up most of the Vintage fabric for the lower part and combined it with a honey beige cotton twill. It is fully lined with three deep pockets on the inside and closes with a large magnetic snap button.It has a very wide bottom which is not visible in the photos.
Attach the shoulder strap to the brass D-rings and it becomes a spacious carry-all - perfect for a weekend away, beach days or yoga class. This bag is fun and functional and will surely stand out wherever you go!

Lately the mornings here are quite nippy, and it barely warms up during the day. I guess it's goodbye summer, hello autumn. Maybe it's a little early, but I'm already thinking hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, fleece blankets and wooly scarves. And of course I'm thinking about sewing stuff for Oktoberfest and Christmas - all manner of holiday-themed fabrics are available in the stores already!
But right this moment I'm enjoying looking at my newest bag creation...I just LOVE this Vintage fabric, it's so cheery! It's so special I'm not sure if I want to put this one up for sale. I'll think about it while I'm hanging on to the last trace of summer...

Wednesday, August 18

Up and Away

Balloons, including this one with the elephant, were floating over our house the other day.

A few years ago we went up in one of these; a popular thing to do in our area. It was a lovely ride, but most memorable was the landing. You see, unfortunately our balloon landed in a farmer's field... the basket got dragged through the crops, then flipped over with me and hubby ending up eating dirt! The farmer was none too pleased either, but we managed to appease him with a crate of beer!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Tuesday, August 17

A year older...and wiser? Hm.

I woke up very early this morning - not because it's my birthday - but because it rained so heavily and the downpour was incredibly loud on our roof tiles! Despite the cold and wet weather my day started off cheery with two sales. Yay! Dawanda, my selling venue, sent me this little birthday ditty that I thought was kinda cute:

We hope you have a wonderful day,
With plenty of time to laugh and play.
In the year to come, we hope you'll stop by,
Our little site, to sell or to buy
Items as unique and lovely as you
Specially handcrafted, made with love too!
I decided to take the afternoon off (the privilege of the self-employed), and I wouldn't have gotten any decent work done anyway, because the phone was ringing non-stop today :)
I received a bunch of birthday cards from friends near and far - I love cards - and so many birthday wishes on Facebook and via email, it's overwhelming. That really made my day extra special. A BIG THANKS to you all - you know who you are!
To answer the question in the title of this post. Well, I always set out to learn as much as possible every day, and with my soon-to-be-online website and all, I do believe I have acquired some specialized knowledge in the past year of which I am quite proud :)
I'll close this post with a pic of me, right before my mad dash to the local bakery to pick up my cake. I was dripping wet when I came back. The cake survived.

More on that custom-made ring I'm wearing in a future post!


Saturday, August 14

Day trip

The historic city of Münster - commonly known as 'bike city' - is always worth a visit, if only for the famous bakery (more about that below). Riding a bike is the preferred method of transport here; even the tourists hire them to get around! Indeed, there are double as many bikes as residents, and on any given day there are more than 100.000 bikes 'in action'.

Old part of the city with its cobble stone roads and impressive cathedral in back

Aristocratic estate in the city center...imagine living here :)

old fashioned café 

having lunch at an outdoor restaurant, sporting new hairstyle; VitaMalz is a popular malt beer

and this is what we brought back home with us: a big bag full of scrumptious bread from Bäckerei Pohlmeyer
we got delicious dried prune bread, crunchy nut-and-seed bread and soft and doughy tomato ciabatta. Yum!!!

Happy Weekend!

Friday, August 13

Sale in my Gift Shop!!!

Just wanted to let everyone know there's a sale on select items going on in my gift shop! Just click on the 'sale' category and the items with marked down prices will be listed!

*Bloggers - for those of you who haven't seen the new spam detection I mentioned in the previous post, you can read about it here.

Wednesday, August 11

So much to do, so little time!

I haven't been online much these last couple of days as my BFF was here for a whirlwind visit and we had so much catching up to do. Oh, how time flies when you're having fun!

In between I developed a new pattern for this gorgeous Vintage 70s fabric I had found a while ago. I'm always hesitant when it comes to cutting original Vintage fabrics, but I think I'm ready to cut it any day now...I'm sure my fellow seamstresses out there will attest to this issue!
Note the handmade pincushion made from scraps and a fabric yoyo and button. Cute and functional!

I also discovered this cool tutorial on how to make your own dressform according to your actual measurements using only an old T-shirt and some duct tape on BurdaStyle. It's in German, but you can follow the how-to's very easily by clicking through the photos. Trust me, it is very easy to make. With the help of a good friend you'll have your finished dressform at the end of the day!

Sometime last week I made a fabric belt using a stripy satin and D-rings. Looks good with light-weight pants. The belt is adjustable and fits sizes S to M. I might make another one for sizes M to L. I didn't get a chance to make photos, because it's been grey and rainy for days.

Bloggers using Blogger - did you notice the new spam detection function? Finally!!! For months now I have been getting weird, ridiculous and annoying spam comments. One guy was using my blog as his personal promotion page. Not to mention all those Chinese, Japanese and Korean spam comments where the only word I understood was 'Viagra'. Reject, Reject, REJECT!!! So, thanks Blogger for this new and necessary function!

Oh, and I hope the skies clear this evening, because tonight a meteor swarm is supposed to be visible and I don't want to miss the opportunity to wish upon a shooting star ;-)

Friday, August 6

Early Birthday present for me. Woohoo!

I feel much better today! Thanks for your support and kind words, guys - what would I do without my blog friends? Speaking of blog friends. Dear sweet and thoughtful Mel sent me two beautiful gifts all the way from the Philippines for my birthday coming up this month:

Aren't these earrings pretty? Mel must be psychic to know that I love round shapes :)
And, of course, I love heart-shaped things too! And pink! Guess what this ingenious little device is? It's a bag hook! You can open the 'rim' of the heart and hook it on to the edge of a table to hang your bag instead of having to keep it on your lap or on the floor like most of us do. How cool is that? If you want to find out more about these heart-shaped bag hooks visit Mel's shop here.

Thank you so much, Mel. Your thoughtful gifts put a big smile on my face! Yay for blog friends!!

Hope you all have a great day! I know I will :)

Tuesday, August 3

Website update and late summer blues...

It's August. The heatwave is over; replaced by heavy rains...good for the trees, though.
I have been working on my website as steadily as I can manage. Since it is in both English and German, it's double the work. I finally figured out how to add more photos per product, and what a headache that was! This isn't explained in the help section very clearly, so for those of you working with VirtueMart - first, add your main photo. Save. Then go back into the product list and click on the small picture icon next to the product you just saved. Click new. Upload another photo. Save. And that is all there is to it!

Round about this time of year I seem to get melancholy for no reason. My birthday is coming up this month and it's a number where the cake couldn't be big enough to fit all the candles! Maybe that has something to do with the strange mood I'm currently in ;-)

Meanwhile, stores are clearing the clothes off the shelves to make way for the Autumn/Winter 2010/11 season. Incredible. On Dawanda there is a back-to-school feature including two of my pencil cases. The cupcake one it my personal favourite and I will be promoting this and other pencil cases on facebook, but I' m pretty sure the cupcake one will sell before school starts :)  

Also, I will be meeting up with a good friend of mine this week, who just happens to be a great photographer. I was deliberating over whether I should add a photo of myself on my website and then decided I would. After all, people do like seeing the person behind the product. Until then - I REALLY need to snap out of this blue mood!!!

take care,