Friday, April 29, 2011

Always a Deal Always a Steal be a fan of All About Ribbon

Do you follow us on FACEBOOK ?

Do you follow us on TWITTER ?

Well, you should! Right now both feeds have a coupon code good for one week. Go stock up with bigger and better savings that we normally have during our regular sales!

If the early bird catches the worm, the fan catches the biggest savings!

Project: Fabulous Felt Flowers and more

Sometimes you have to admit you don't know everything. Some things I know nothing about. (don't you dare tell my children) Sometimes you have to take a page from some one else for some inspiration!

I bought some wonderful handmade felt flowers last weekend at our city market. They were upcycled felted flowers and the artisan graciously told me a tidbit or two about them. I was in love. I bought more than a handful of them, which my 3 year old promptly laid claim to on sight. Well, great now I have to figure out how to make ME some.

To the crafty friends to gave up their best links, and the author of the following blog instructions I used... ya all rock!

Please read through the link below from Aunt Peaches for all the in and outs of "how to"!

Friday Flowers: Making Sweater Felt in the Washing Machine

I am going to share some of my tidbits and tricks and before and afters for everyone! I have to tell you (shhhhh) I am having so much fun making these I want to give up ribbon... almost.
Aren't these the cutest little things!

First tip is when cutting sweaters apart its faster if you turn inside out, fold on the seam, and just cut the seam off leaving you the two panels. One cut to remove the seam saves you twice the time of cutting all the way down one side of the seam, then doing the same again.

Have your sweaters in pieces? FABULOUS! Throw them in your pillow cases. These are going to pill, fuzz, and freak out. You do really want that contained, and not wandering free in your washing machine. Seriously. For shaving the soap Peaches used a really wonderfully sharp looking knife. If you haven't learned anything about how things go around here sharp is generally bad. That's like an engraved invitation for an emergency room visit. Vegetable peeler... much safer. And pretty. I am considering putting a bowl of little soap curls in my office for fragrance.

Here's my little pillow case sweater army below. Yes, those are hair elastics holding them shut. I couldn't find a rubber band in my house with a gun to my head, but pony o's I can find! The hold really well in the washer too.

Here's a picture of the sweaters we started with in these bags. I bought 4 100% wool sweaters at the thrift store. All were $3.99 to $4.99, not bad. They were all interesting to me in different ways. A couple of them I just wanted to see what they looked like when they felted.

I followed the instructions and the green one only needed one washing to felt, the other three sweaters needed a second go in the machine to felt up. Here is what they looked like after felting! This little oatmeal sweater kept its ribbed look even with the felting!

You can see here what the finished felt looked like when we were finished, and we cut out some spirals to make our flowers. I thought they looks pretty nice like this, but I threw them back in the dryer to see how much they would really round out on each petal. I am so glad I did! I loved them even more! Below is a pic of before the go in the dryer, and you can see the rounded edges in the following pic where we started to glue our spiral into a flower.

For the green sweater I couldn't decide what do really do with them. I think sometimes simple is better. Aren't these the beautiful!

 LOVE love LOVE these! Heck and all i need to add is a little bling, a pin back or hair clip and my Mother's Day gifts are d-o-n-e!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Project: The Key to Key Fobs

Hot sellers and craft shows and easy peasy to make!
(Not to mention it’s a great way to use up short pieces)

Surprisingly simple even for those that have very little sewing experience.

1 1/4 heavy weight cotton webbing
Ribbon and matching thread (featured 7/8 motorcycle on orange available at All About Ribbon)
1 1/4 square nickel top key fob hardware
8" flat jaw welding pliers
Sewing machine
Heavy weight needles

First thread up your machine with thread that matches the ribbon you want to use on your key fob. Change your needle to the heavy weight sewing needle.

Cut your webbing to your desired length. We cut ours to 10 inches which is ideal for people like me with larger hands to slip their palm in, or for more petite people to use as a wristlet.

Line up your ribbon centered on the webbing and place under your sewing machines foot. Before starting I lower the needle partially so that i can get it fairly close to the edge of the ribbon while lining it up. Sew a straight line down your webbing.

Sew down the other side the same way.

Your webbing should look like this once you have sewn both sides. Trim up the threads at each end.

I also trim off each edge so that they don't fray during use.
Sew the two unfinished edges together about a 1/4 inch from the edge.

Line up your hardware covering the unfinished tip and use your welding pliers gently to partially clamp the hardware on (pic 1). Check your alignment and make any adjustments needed. Use your pliers again to apply enough pressure to completely clamp the hardware onto the webbing (pic 2). Add the key ring and your done!

Pro tip: When using your pliers add a piece of fabric to cover the hardware. This will help prevent any scratches or marks on the hardware.

We think that pappa ribbon is gonna love his new key chain before they bolt for their summer home. Oh, the hard hard life of being retired! (no worries, you all are stuck with me here for years and years and years...)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Special Feature Part 3: Price fixing (the legal kind)

Determining the price to sell your items at is always the subject of intense debate. Money is an emotional issue for most people but when you are selling something you physically make you are even more invested in the process of determining you pricing. There is no right or wrong way to determine what your product is worth but I am going to take you through the way I determine the price of a lot of my items for shows and local sales.

First determine how much you think you should make an hour. You are your own boss! You can overpay your self if you want. You also have no one to complain to if you underpay yourself. For example, I feel I should always make more than minimum wage based on my experience making bows for 3 yrs and my previous work history so for arguments sake I set my pay at $15 an hour.

For whatever item you are going to price out get your materials together in one space and get ready to work! Set a clock and see how long it takes you start to finish making one piece. It took us 5 minutes to make our bow to completion.

Now calculate how much your 5 minutes of time is worth.
$15 per hour divided by 60 minutes means that we are making $.25 per minute
Our labor costs for that item is $1.25

Now let’s figure our how much our product material cost is. You can factor in any expense like the method below by changing the numbers to whatever your cost is.
Clips: we paid 14.75 for 144 clips. $14.74 divided by 144 is .102 per clip or rounding up 11 cents per clip.
Ribbon: we paid 2.99 for 5 yards of ribbon. We used 22 inches. I round up to a full yard for usage which helps account for scraps and waste. 2.99 divided by 5 yards is .598 or 60 cents a yard
Glue sticks and thread are so small it is hard to cost out so I do not factor those into my pricing. If you add embellishments or anything else you want to factor those in as well.

Add the items below:
$1.25 Labor
$0.11 clip
$0.60 ribbon                  
$1.98 is your total production cost (not necessarily final cost)

Some people view this as their wholesale price, and then double the price to $3.92 for their retail price. I round my retail pricing up to $4.00 because it’s far easier to price it in even dollar bill numbers for craft shows. Because I also only take an elite market of wholesale customers my wholesale pricing in most cases is a set percentage off of my retail pricing instead of the production cost above. It takes time to develop both clientele and the "expertise" that I have and that to me is deserving of at higher percentage that stays with me.

Before I set my final pricing I also research both the product and the market.

Pricing Factors for your market
Are you selling this bow at a craft show? Ebay? Etsy? If you are you need to factor in the amount of time that you spend listing, fees incurred, time spent standing at a show, and any other expenses like gas, food or hotels.

Pricing factors for your product
Is your product unique in some special way? Are you the only one that has this product? Are you an expert? Have you developed a fan following that makes your items more in demand? If these make your product "elite" then you may be able to raise your price above your calculated price
How much is this product generally be sold for in your area in boutiques, brick and mortar stores, and online? You may need to adjust your price higher or lower to be competitive.

Hopefully that helps everyone start to have a working knowledge of how to price and item. The main reason to sit down and price each item is so that you do not feel like you are giving away your time for nothing. If you don't know how much you are really making it’s hard to determine your self worth (or argue with a spouse) and feel confident in your decision to craft for profit. Sure it’s easier to fly by the seat of your pants and hope you are making enough to be worth it but I love knowing that I can make however much money I want to by being in control of my little airplane!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ritzy Ribbon Necklaces & Pendants

Brought to you by the lovely folks at Punch Place Plus! Pop on over and check out their fab supplies and great prices!

Ribbon Necklaces with Alta Cap Pendants

Supplies Needed
3/8” All About Ribbon printed ribbon
8mm beads (approx.)
Beading wire (approx. 10 pound test) or upholstery thread
Large eye needle
Tape measure
Lighter (or other method to seal ribbon)
Crimp beads
Super Glue (or E6000)
1” hole punch
1” photo images
1” resin drops
Alta-Cap (
Xyron sticker maker with permanent adhesive (glue stick might work too)

To begin you need to decide how long you are going to make your ribbon necklace sides and ties. I find that starting with 12” works well for me. You are going to be working off your roll of ribbon. If you use the same size bead each time you will get a feel of how much ribbon you will need. I use different size beads and make them different lengths, so I work from the spool. Seal the end of your ribbon.

Thread your need with your beading wire or upholstery thread and knot.  12” in start your first stitch.
Pull almost all the way through. Add the crimp bead and push down over your knot.

Keeping the crimp bead over your knot, take your pliers and flatten (crimp). A regular knot will pull through the ribbon; the crimp cover keeps this from happening. Then use your pliers to cut off any excess wire.

I like then fold the ribbon making a 1/8” to 3/8” flap (this depends on the size of my bead) and stitch through it several times encasing the crimped crimp bead. Then begin to add your beads (shown in photos are actually dried beans from Ecuador). Make another flap at the end of your bead and stitch through it, add another and so on.

It usually works best if you plan out your beading prior to starting to add them. How many on each side, what size, which colors, placement of sizes & colors and so on.  Lay your beads on a kitchen or bathroom hand towel makes them easier to work with (and less time on the floor looking for run-away beads).
Continue sewing through your ribbon and adding beads. When you get to the center section of your necklace add your bail. If you have predetermined which is the top and which is the bottom of your necklace make sure you orientate your bail accordingly.

Finish beading and sewing your ribbon on the second part of your necklace. When you get to the end you need to make the last fold, knot your wire or thread (pull as tightly as you want for the look you want), add your crimp bead and complete as you started.
Last Tie
Measure from your last fold 12” and cut and seal your ribbon.

If you have sewn your ends neatly and hidden your crimps as well you can fore go this step. I like the look and think it adds stability to the necklace so I knot mine.

Alta Cap Pendant
Punch out the image of your choice and run through your Xyron machine (or other permanent gluing method). Peal and stick image in the Alta Cap. Then peel your resin dot and adhere to the image.

Alta Cap Pendant
There are many fun uses for an Alta Cap. This shows how easy it is to make them into a pendant by simply using super glue (I like the gel) or your favorite permanent glue on the bail and press the Alta Cap into place.

And here is our finished project!
The combinations of what you can do with the various colors of Alta Caps, All About 3/8” ribbon and beads is endless!