Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC
Sewing dates all the way back to the prehistoric era. During the last ice age, almost 25000 years ago, man used a needle and thread to make clothing from fur, hide and bark.
Sewing was done by hand for thousands of years. The first practical sewing machine was designed and patented in 1930 by Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor. This totally revolutionized the sewing industry. Over the years, there have been many new additions and patents that continue to change the stitching industry.
Sewing began as a way to create clothing and progressed into other industries such as upholstery and book binding.
I asked the members of the Etsy Christmas In July Team to share a handmade sewn creation from their shop and the following questions: What are the sewing-related trends you see in your corner of the world? Where do you see growth in the sewing industry, and where do you see decline?
The hand-made sewing related trends I see in my corner of the world, Portland Oregon, seem to be things that help the environment. Items sewn from recycled materials, or items sewn to be re-usable things that help reduce the carbon footprint, like lunch bags and totes for groceries. This is also where I see the most growth.
I see a decline in the handmade sewing of clothing, with exception to formal and bridal wear. It has become much more economical and less time-consuming to buy a t-shirt rather than make it. But with that said, kids and adults are doing some amazing things with a sewing machine. Sewing is not just for fabric but for other mediums like, plastic, paper, etc.
Sewing things other than clothing, is my own personal new trend.
I can’t exactly call myself a sewer because most of my sewing is done in the form of weaving my ends in on my crocheted pieces, but I do enjoy working plastic canvas needlepoint projects, which I think is a basic form of sewing. It was my first love, and I am amazed at what can be created with a little imagination, yarn, needle and plastic mesh.
Though it is an older form of crafting, I feel like there are still several crafters in love with this form, and looking for simple and fun designs like those that I create. I have seen a big interest in my new, modern designs to match the trends – like the sweet penguin earrings featured here.
I was looking to enroll in a fashion design program at a local tech school, but have since decided to hold off. I think there will always be a need for those handy with needle and thread, but with the online market really guiding sales and trends, I think it isn’t as simple as it used to be for sewers, especially when you can always purchase it cheaper from somewhere else. I think nowadays, it’s much more about how unique the piece is and customization, and not the fact that it’s handmade.
I’ve seen an increase in creative pastimes over the last decade. Millennials, especially those in their 30’s or late 20’s, are the Pinterest generation. So many of them are revitalizing and reinventing traditional skills, like sewing and baking. Most of them are not at a professional skill level and realize that creating a sewn (or knitted or crocheted) object is more expensive than buying a mass-produced one, so it may not have a huge effect on the clothing industry. However, these skills are not going to be dying out anytime soon.
Everywhere I look, I’m seeing hand-sewn handbags and totes. Someone with basic sewing skills can make a one-of-a-kind bag, using fabric and a pattern of their choice. I’m also seeing lots of embellishment on the bags; buttons, rhinestones, metal studs, beads, ribbons, and appliques.
Here’s an example of a fun way to embellish a bag, using one of the applique patterns from our shop:
Contributor post by Sheila from BeadyEyedBird
At BeadyEyedBird, as with so many of our awesome colleagues on Etsy, we are committed to the planet and continuously seeking new ways in which we can become more ‘green’.
Now that conscientious people everywhere are considering alternatives to unhealthy chemicals and production systems, unfair trade practices and other byproducts of the un-green greed machine, the appreciation of handcrafting is expanding in a great way. For eons, folks in various industries have expended a lot of human and natural resources – digging up the land, disrupting eco-systems, and polluting the environment. But as most of you likely know already, you can also stay ‘green’ and still make and sell beautiful things.
From the items you choose to sell, to the packaging you use to ship, we hope you strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The things you can do in this regard range from using natural/renewable heating sources for your work space, reducing and reusing materials, carpooling to reduce emissions, using recycled and non-toxic packaging and production materials, etc.
Some of our great Teamies on CIJ shared their green practices and products with us — in celebration of Earth Day (April 22). Here’s how they honor our earth.
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With a business, Earth Day is an opportunity for me to promote Earth -friendly practices that so many of us do everyday anyway. So I list that items are shipped using recycled materials, but I also don’t want to turn shoppers off if they feel like they’re going to get their items in a dirty used box or something. So I try to show pictures of my packing as well.I am still trying to find the right papers to use for my prints. The one company that provided papers using recycled products has stopped that line. I do try to make sure that all my papers use at least some post-consumer recycled and/or earth friendly materials though. It’s great for Mother Nature, and it also appeals to an earth friendly niche market so I try to add that to my tags, title and description if I can fit it in.
To be honest, PRINTABLES, instant downloads are earth-friendly products. A much smaller carbon footprint since they aren’t being physically shipped around the world using trucks, planes, ships or cars. And no packing material. And some buyers don’t even print them out, but use them for electronic purposes. Here’s one inspiring printable:
p.s. I will have to say, that I am one of THOSE mothers – you know, the ones that pack their kids lunches with re-used yogurt or deli containers. I would prefer to use glass, but that could be hazardous. I was raised by a single mother of 7 children, so we did what we could to save money – who knew that also turned out to be earth-friendly too?!
I will have to say that there are many nice cloth, re-useable lunch and snack bags sold right here on Etsy!
When it comes to my Etsy shop, I’m really trying to find ways to go lean and green. In this past year, I have been slowly transitioning my shop from selling physical items to digital downloads. This change has saved me from extra packaging, paper and especially, plastic materials. Over 90% of my sales involve virtual goods making my store’s footprint much, much smaller.
Last year, I finally switched over to a paperless system of bookkeeping, which I was reluctant about for way too long. I was constantly printing off receipts for every sale. It was ridiculously wasteful. Now, everything is stored electronically. Since I already have a system to back up my work anyway, all my receipts and work is protected from data loss and crashes (which has happened, btw, so please remember to back up your files).
And finally, I personally recycle and reuse materials at home in other ways. Clean cardboard packaging is repurposed for sending out packages, when needed. We have a great recycling program in our county and I do compost materials for my garden. Roses love egg shells and coffee grounds!
Over this next year, the goal will be to go around my old house and start finding ways to reduce electricity usage by fixing small air leaks and seals around my windows. I’m also looking into a program my dad is using for his electricity in Georgia:
He just switched from traditional electricity to completely renewable energy for his apartment. Just wanted to pass this along in case you all are interested as well.
Here is a sample of my digital listings:
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Many thanks to everyone for their contributions, and for all you do to honor the Earth!
Until Next Time,
Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings
“Re-purposed Jelly Jar” by Lisa from sparkklejar
In celebration of the do-it-yourself month of March, I am giving a DIY tutorial on how to repurpose the lid of a vintage jelly jar. These jars are often found at thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets or in Grandma’s attic. Jars with nicks around the top and lids that are creased or a little rusty can easily be repurposed. These jelly jars were made by Kerr, Ball, Hazel Atlas, Presto and many other glass companies. The technique used in this tutorial can be used on anything with a metal embossed lid, such as a zinc mason jar cap, old cold cream bottle or antique snuff glass. This DIY features a post 1940 Kerr jar with a shiny un-coated metal embossed lid. The shinier the lid, the harder it is to distress the embossing. The following will teach technique and tricks for successfully repurposing metal jelly jar lids using acrylic paint, sealer, water slide decal images, and glitter. Most of the pictures show the lid painted a darker color than i recommend, but the green photographed nicely, showing the step by step process. Please read the entire tutorial before starting your project.
- Vintage jelly jar with an un-coated embossed metal lid
- Acrylic craft paint in a light color
- Water slide decal
- Medium grain sandpaper
- Water base liquid gloss polyurethane
- Soft synthetic nylon paint brushes
- Glitter paint or fine grain glitter
- Soft cloth like an old t-shirt
- Optional blow dryer with low setting.
Metal vintage jelly jar lids sometimes come with issues. It is common to find a label or canning wax stuck on them. Boiling water removes wax and rubbing alcohol removes labels and stickers. If your lid has big patches of rust, you might want to sand the rusty areas as flat as you can. Make sure the lid is as clean as you can get it.
Using acrylic tole paint, such as Americana, Delta, or Apple Barrel, in a light shade, take a little on your brush and sweep the sides of the lid so it’s shabby painted.
After the sides are dry,( I use a blow dryer on coolest setting to speed the paint drying process along) paint the top of the lid with several thin layers, the paint needs to be completely dry between coats.
Make sure the paint has gotten between all the embossed letters on your first coat. Brush strokes should be side to side. Several thin layers are better than a few thick layers. Soft nylon or synthetic brushes are preferred over natural fiber brushes. Natural fiber brushes shed their bristles and become stuck in the paint. I always use name brand paints as i find store brands too watery for painting on metal.
The green you see used in this tutorial is an Americana stock color called “Sweet Mint”. Most colors darken a shade once the polyurethane is applied, keep that in mind when choosing a color. “Sweet Mint” darkens to a shade of mint julep and is an example of the darkest hue I recommend using for this project.
Let your lid air dry a full 48 hours, this is very important. After the lid has dried, put medium grain sandpaper over a fluffy towel and run the lid back and forth over it in the same side to side direction as your brush strokes. This gets the sanding process started and you should see some of the letters start to lose their paint.
Taking a smaller piece of the sandpaper, gently start sanding over the letters using your fingers, back and forth keeping with the side to side grain you painted in. This will take a while, you may want to wear a mask as this produces a fine paint dust. Once your letters have been sanded down to bare metal, sand the top edges of the lid and anywhere else you want to look shabby and worn. Do a quick paint touch-up of any area you may have accidentally sanded and let dry.
Seal the sides and top with a thin coat of brush on liquid polyurethane. I use Americana Dura Clear gloss varnish. This varnish is non-yellowing and water base. I blow dry this fast drying polyurethane until it’s not tacky, but it still needs to sit for at least 8 hours before you apply the decal. *depending on the humidity, your polyurethane coat may cause a few tiny bubbles in the paint. You can rub these bubbles flat (or almost flat) with an old t-shirt or some other smooth and soft cloth after the polyurethane is dry to touch.
Water slide decals are for non-fired projects and are not the same as ceramic decals. You can order many images on-line already made, or you can get the decal paper and print and seal your own.
Cut your decal image out using sharp scissors. Since decals are transparent, cutting close to the image is fine, rather than trying to cut out every little detail. The transparency of the decal image is why a light paint background is necessary. After deciding where to place your image on the lid, dip the decal according to the manufacturer’s directions in water. When your decal is ready, slide it off of it’s backing onto the lid. Smooth it flat with your cloth, removing any bubbles. Make sure you have dried any standing water from applying your decal. Do not blow dry, let your decal set overnight.
When I apply glitter to these lids, I just put it on the decal area. You can choose where it goes, or to not use any at all. There are two types of glitter techniques i use. I like the Deco Art Twinkles, which is a clear acrylic glitter paint, or I use fine grain glitter and mix it with a little polyurethane (work quickly, this dries fast). Dab the glitter paint onto the desired area with your fingertip. Sometimes your glitter paint gets a little sticky and may pull an edge of the decal up, no worries, just tack it back with a little polyurethane. Less is more, thick glitter tends to mute out details in the decal image. I have chosen to use both dark green and rose pink for this lid.
Let dry about an hour or two, do not blow dry (decals do not like blow dryers) and brush on a final coat of polyurethane, after this is dry take old scissors and scrape any paint off the inside sides that may have settled there, otherwise your lid may not fit or get stuck on your jar. You have just completed your shabby cottage chic jelly jar!
Social Media Sites
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Sparkklejar/
Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings
We want to showcase your DIY and Tutorials, so please send them to us here.
Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls says DIY Crafts, such as knitting, sewing, embroidery and needlepoint are fantastic ways to create something homemade. We love this embroidery craft kit called “Sweet Treats”. It comes with everything in it needed to make this picture and, when finished, it can be a pillow or picture! Crafts are fun and can be very therapeutic!
Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese said this a snail mail set which includes a blank card and plenty of bits and pieces to decorate with! It is Easter themed with Easter being at the end of March. I am sure a friend would love to receive your own handmade card in the mail!
These are just a sample of what our team members have in terms of DIY and the Tutorials will be coming soon!
Here are the Tutorials!
Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC
Roses, which have been enjoyed for thousands of years, have a rather long history. Rose cultivation dates back to Greek and Roman times, and many varieties are descendants from ancient garden plants in China, Persia or Turkey.
Roses are divided into different categories, one of which is the vintage Old Garden Roses. Old Garden Roses were popular prior to the 20th Century. Predating 1867, a true Old Garden Rose is a tough, durable shrub that has stood the test of time. Many are considerably more fragrant than their modern counterparts. Most (but not all) are once blooming, and would be used in the landscape similar to a Lilac or Hydrangea.
Like my grandfather and father before me, the rose has always been my favorite flower. I have fond memories of sunny summer afternoons spent outside on my grandfather’s porch surrounded by fragrant roses cascading from the trellises all around. Many happy moments were spent with my father while he worked in our beautiful rose garden at home.
Anticipating the upcoming blooms of spring, I asked my fellow teammates of the Christmas In July Team to share items from their shops which feature vintage Old Garden Roses.
Valerie Brown from FirepanJewellery said, I am inspired by the Antique roses grown in my garden. I grow many different varieties, including Jacobite rose (Rosa alba), Queen of the musks, and Apothecary rose (Rosa gallica). They are varying shades of pink – so this lovely carved rose necklace is an homage to them.
Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy
The season is upon us! A time for family and friends. A time for caring, sharing, and giving. Why not let the Christmas in July team help you find that special gift that shows just how much you care? Just be careful, or you may wind up in Ken Nesbitt’s predicament!
December I went shopping
for presents for my friends.
I bought a bunch of knickknacks
and a lot of odds and ends.
I picked the kinds of presents
that everyone enjoys:
Computer games and candy
and a wagon-load of toys.
I brought them home and wrapped them.
I placed them near the tree,
but liked them all so much
that I unwrapped them just for me.
Would it be wrong to keep them?
I guess it just depends.
Can someone loan me money
to go shopping for my friends?
4) Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns says “Being an Australian we don’t do the Black Friday thing as we don’t do thanksgiving – but I am happy to offer my USA friends and customers a coupon code for the occasion …. and the USA dollar is strong against the Aussie dollar at the moment – all the more reason to take advantage of my custom coupon code Blackfriday2015 for 10% off.” Check out her lovely ceramic work.
5) Ginny C from GRCTreasures will have all items in her shop on sale during the Thanksgiving weekend starting midnight on Thursday through cyber Monday. She has a variety of vintage items in her shop, like this one…
Active now is code HOLIDAY2013 – $10.00 off of a $50.00 purchase.
Starting Blackfriday until December 4th is code BLACKFRIDAY for 20% off.
11) Ethical Infant from Ethicalinfant offers a selection of baby clothing and is offering Free Shipping with the code ShipFree at checkout. They will also be doing a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale. Just check out their banner for more details.
13) Melissa R from missy69, who offers a variety of jewelry and hand crafted items says, “Starting November 1, 2015, and lasting all the way until January 1, 2016, I will be kicking off the holidays with a BOGO event. That is right, buy one item, get the second item, of equal or lesser value free. You will put the first item in your cart, then in the comments tell me the item you want for free. It is as easy as that. Please be aware that if you pick a made to order item, then both items will be shipped when the second item is completed. It is still always best to ask questions first, and avoid issues later. Free USA shipping will still apply. If, by chance two people want the same item, then it will be first come first serve. All invoices are dated, and timed, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Start making your list now!”
15) Lori from SpokeNwheelz will be doing mystery packs of 2 T-shirts with bicycles or cars (you choose, and specify size) for $20. Use coupon code XMAS15 in her shop at checkout for a Free Shipping bonus!
Many more shops will be offering special sales this Holiday Season. Just search “CIJ” or “Christmas in July” to check out our entire team’s items!
Wishing you good cheer, good times, and good shopping this holiday season!
Please join us in welcoming Lisa Behrens of sparkklejar, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Lisa and I am a 46 year old work at home mother, with two of my three kids still living at home. My husband and I have been married 21 years. I believe laughter is a medicine and coffee is one of the five food groups.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I didn’t decide to open a business. After failing miserably at pretty much everything I tried, I started again, only by not trying and went from there.
Having no expectations, I started selling a few things on Ebay in 2002. By 2006 I had exceeded my expectations (of nothing) and by 2007-2008 I had completely transitioned to Etsy selling upcycled vintage, mostly canning jars.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My items vary. Most of the hand made and upcycled objects have one thing in common. Gratuitous amounts of paint. Pink paint seems to be a favored color among the masses, even though my favorite color is black. I poly-set pretty flower decals on the gratuitously shabby painted items, and somewhere in there I sand and seal, and through this highly complicated process (infernal lie) I get the items you see in my Etsy shop.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration comes in many forms. My love of vintage jars and my desire to upcycle, recycle, repurpose and salvage, provide the motivation and desire to create something from something else. I don’t like waste, I think we live in a throw-away society, I try to make things that were once useful in their time, have a purpose again.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
As far as goals and dreams for my business, I actually don’t have many.
Another thousand sales on Etsy by 2016 would be nice. I feel going to work in your paint covered pajamas while eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon (and by peanut butter, i mean cool-whip) is pretty much living the dream. I am my own boss, I stay home with my kids, I can play my music as loud as I want while I work, and I can fire myself at will and go take a nap.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think the fact I am actually a mason jar collector helps my listings stand out from other artisans and crafters who upcycle old fruit jars. I hope my love and knowledge of vintage and antique canning masons show through to everyone who views my shop. I also believe I have created interesting and marketable niche products that have unique elements and useful appeal.
Many of my items are one of a kind, which makes my shop ever-changing and attracts new buyers as well as keeps previous buyers coming back.
And having a little faith doesn’t hurt either.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My entire kitchen counter is my work space, which works out well, because I hate to cook. Which also doesn’t work out well, because people need to eat (I tried giving my family cool-whip and a spoon, but my husband said that just wasn’t working for him, picky picky).
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I would have had a better comprehension of how taxes worked when you own your own business. I wish I had not gone through an oil-base polyurethane phase (that was a disaster). I wish i had learned to keep acetone on hand before the superglue incident.Also, green paint doesn’t taste like lime jello shots, spray enamel outside, tetanus shots are a good thing, and everything said about glitter being the herpes of the craft world, is totally, arguably, true. In all seriousness, two very important things I have learned from Etsy trial and error (and angst and woe)…
1.Always take a non-refundable deposit for custom work
2. It’s okay to say NO
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
My advice for those just starting out on Etsy or thinking about trying Etsy for the first time, is to realize all the advise everyone is going to throw at you may not be relevant to you. What works for me may not work for you. There are basic Etsy-isms to follow, but at some point, you are going to have to see what is right for you. That is a perk to running your own business, you are unique and you need to show it.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I spend time with my family and friends, and way too much time on Facebook… but I justify it by telling myself its marketing… (denial much?). My hobbies are collecting old fruit jars, covering the kitchen counter in paint globs, cool whip dinners, napping, and hating unicorns.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is biblical.
(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to thank the captain and leaders of the CIJ team for the opportunity to let me share a bit about me.
I would like to thank Linda from LandKBeads.etsy.com for helping me with these photos.
And I would like to thank my husband for loving me even though I’m quite the pain.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.