Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just call me a First Class Slacker

in the blogging world, that is. I've been neglecting our blog. Everytime I start to update, I get interrupted by something else.

Also Mother has needed the services of able mabel lately. She has a doll show coming up in DC and wanted us to work on some items for her show.

Here's a sample...

This was just the trial one to see if it would even work. I'll post more pictures later!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shopping at Target

can be a dangerous outing. Dangerous to the pocketbook that is. For some reason almost everytime I go in there, I find way more than what's on my list. Occasionally my willpower wins and I only get what's on my list. This usually happens when I'm pressed for time.

Saturday afternoon I "ran" to Target. On my list was the usually boring household items...dishwasher soap, toilet paper, etc. A list like this should only take me about 15 minutes max. Well 45 minutes later, I was still in there.

The problem was that I realized all the shoes/sandals were all less than $4 a pair. I had to stop and think who needed what and then search thru all the shoes until I found the right size. Took forever. That got me thinking about bargains, back to school, August birthdays...

A browse thru the jewelry aisle netted able mabel a bunch of items for our jewelry supply stash.

I found some super cheap earrings that would make perfect pendants and some necklaces that can be cut apart and the beads used for other necklaces. I didn't know that JB had been watching those items, waiting for them to get cheap enough to buy.

It pays to check the clearance rack!

Today I went to Joann and found coordinating beads for the "pendants" I bought. My three youngest are now in bed and the beading supplies are out. I'm going to get the "able mabel hunch" going for a few hours before I hit the sheets!

I'll post pictures of the finished products later on this week!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Getting Our Eggs

out of one basket. A few months back I had blogged out opening a store in the site icraft. I listed four things and kind of forgot about it. You know, no instant results...My biggest thing was deciding what do put on Etsy and what to put on icraft. Esty is bigger and it seemed like things had a better chance of selling on there.

Yesterday I got a wild hair and opened a store on DaWanda, a European site. I decided that I'm just going to start listing the same things in each of the stores. It's a risk I'm going to take. It can't hurt. I can't image all the same people would shop at every site. When something sells on one site, I'll just take it off the other two.

I have about 6 things listed on DaWanda and will continue to list throughout the day. I'm also working on adding more into our icraft shop. The more exposure the better, I'd think!

I've also let our flickr account get stale. I'll start uploading a picture or two a day to that site also. We've been selling some stuff off Etsy to friends and family. I'd like to start using our Flickr to keep a photographic record of those items. That way someone can go check it out to see what else we are capable of doing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I totally forgot to

update this blog yesterday. I had a post all ready to go in my head and everything. Oh well. Can't win everyday, just some days.

Last night my husband had a meeting. I took the kids to the library and then when they were eating their bedtime snack, I went into the chat rooms on Etsy. I wasn't there very long before I came across a shop that had some awesome photography. I picked the brain of the seller for a bit. I decided to try what I had learned...

This is a picture of a necklace "normally" (how I usually take them)...

Using her ideas...this was taken just on my kitchen counter at about 9:30 pm (or there abouts. I took pictures for about a hour and a half last night. Trying different things out, uploading, editing, etc). As you can see the coloring is off, no matter how much I tried to fix it.

Now the ones I took this morning at my kitchen table...

I'll tell you a little secret if you promise not to tell anyone...know what my background is? JB's cake stand, that she left here after the birthday party last weekend, turned on it's side. It just happened to match perfectly! The white is just a white piece of cardstock set on a (gasp!!) Kleenex box.

I don't think I'll use these ideas for everything we sell. The reason it worked for this necklace is because the necklace is so simple in it's color scheme and it's structure.

I did try it using another necklase last night but there was already so much going on in the necklace that it just distracted from it too much.

I heard rumblings this morning about one of our friends maybe having her baby last night. I better get scooting so I can maybe go visit her this afternoon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Joann Etc

here we come! This evening JB and I are taking a supply gathering trip to Joann Etc. We both got a huge wad of coupons in the mail last week.

On my list...

  • blue and brown beads. I've been eyeballing this pendant JB bought but we don't have any beads to match it.

  • more packaging for our double light switch covers. Last week JB took a class that The Studio at Rush Creek (or something like that). We have some of our stuff there on consignment. The owner of the studio asked for more light switch covers. Sweet!

  • We'll maybe try to find some coordinating fabrics to go with some of the ones I bought on Etsy. We want to make some aprons out of them but don't have anything to match. Who knows if we'll find anything.

  • I'm going to be looking for a frame for this picture I bought for my bathroom. Finally!! I think I'll need to change the curtains and hand towels that are in there now but that shouldn't be too hard. I found this print at a shop called SterJay. The print is absolutely stunning!

  • We have another craft night coming up next Tuesday, so I'm sure we'll pick up a few things for that.

Now I better get my house whipped into shape! Have a great day!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I feel like I lost by best friend today. Okay, so I'm slightly over-reacting...

My favorite prop broke today. The worst part...I can't blame it on anyone else but myself!

Sister K wanted to have a garage sale this week at my house. It's not the best location but I gave her the okay. I decided on Sunday that if she's going to try it, I may as well set up our able mabel stuff in part of the garage. We opened on Wednesday afternoon. The only advertising I had time for was to post a quick blurb on craigslist. We also put out signs, of course.

Today was Deadsville. (I had figured as much) Pretty slow. To make the most out of my day, I decided to take and retake pictures of all our stuff. I was using Favorite Prop for some of the pictures. I got called inside for something and in the mean time someone came to the sale. I asked my oldest to go move the sheet (my wonderful backdrop for my photos) off the table.

Later I was going to take more pictures and picked up the sheet off the garage floor, totally forgetting the vase/urn was in the sheet. Crash!!! I just about cried! Again, not really, but my stomach did a little flip flop. Now what should I use?

On a happier note, I did get my darling little poopsie to sit semi-still for a bit today.

When she decided enough was enough, my two year old wanted to pose. He's kind of big but I did have some boy blankets I needed modeled.

Isn't he just a lunker? He was a very willing model so how could I refuse?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life Lessons for July 15th

  • Just because the word buttons is the words "butt" and "on" combined doesn't mean that your rump belongs on a tote full of buttons. I sat down with some hand sewing and narrowly missed the tote of buttons. What a royal mess it would have made had it spilled!

  • When ironing, always look at what you're ironing. It helps...a lot. You get more ironed in a shorter amount of time. I was ironing a piece of fabric today and looked behind me to see what fabric combo JB was putting together. When I looked back at what I was doing, I was only ironing the ironing board, completely missing the fabric.

  • You never know where the fabric you're going to use will come from. Sure the standard source is typically the fabric stores, but don't overlook other avenues. Take for example what we worked on today....We made two pillows using a clearance table cloth, silk flowers and an cardigan/shell combo that our dear mother handed down (sorry mom, little do you know what we do with your clothes!!) Next were a messanger bag and a different type of bag both using old belts as the handles. Last a pillow using a clearance dish towel. Fun! Fun! Fun!

  • JB pulls thru time and time again! As I was pinning together the pillows using mom's shirt, I was convinced it wouldn't work. The sweater material was stretchy and it looked like is just wouldn't sew together right. She told me to calm down and let her try sew it. I sure wasn't going to try! It looks awesome! Also as my last post eluded to, we didn't quite have enough fabric to make a matching pillow to the one we have in our store. I shouldn't have fretted about it. Low and behold, after lunch there was JB putting together some fabric combos for the pillow! Wonderful!

  • Sisters are the best! The other day JB had called and said she bought some fabric she thought I'd like. I saw it the next day and have been drooling over it ever since. She was dead on! Today I started cutting out a purse using it and it made me happy just to look at it. (I know, simple pleasures for simple people!) She told me today she bought it just for me! Now isn't that sweet! I'll show it to you once it gets sewn together. It's a style we haven't done before!

Everything we completed today kind of matched!

Two pillows (we have two more almost done. One needs a pillow form and the other needs to be hand stitched), one Sally bag (two more other styles of purses are in various stages) and one pouch. So far I only have the pouch listed.

The Story of the Lonely Pillow

This poor guy is the only pillow we have listed in our shop. We've actually made quite a few but they've either sold or the listing expired. (I need to retake pictures of the expired listings that's why I haven't relisted them)

I was working on a couple more pillows are JB's this morning. We got talking about our lonely pillow in our shop and decided to make him a friend. JB had some sweet ideas of how we should do it! Problem is that we don't have any fabric left that would match him.

When I brought my kids home from lunch, I sat down and started browsing around Etsy to see if I can find some matching fabric. I keep finding everything but the fabric I'm looking for. This lonely pillow was made using Amy Butler fabric JB bought last fall at a local quilt shop, they no longer carry it. Looks like none of the shops I've come across on Etsy still carry that fabric.

I've left a few notes for some of the sellers....we'll see what they say...
So until we find fabric, here he sits! (he looks pretty happy though, doesn't he? Afterall, he is the "top dog", in the pillow department anyway.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Slightly spinning in circles

I woke up early this morning all fired up to get a lot of things done. Then...
  • I played Sprinkler Slave all morning long. Moving sprinklers all around the yard. Why, oh why didn't we put a sprinkler system in when we moved in?
  • My baby decided she was in the "hang-onto-Mommy-with-a-death-grip-if-she-lets-go-I'll-squeal-like-a-stuck-pig" kind of mood this morning. She rode around on my hip until nap time.
  • I did manage to unlatch her long enough to get two out of three bathrooms cleaned. Still one to go.
  • Played secretary for my husband and made a bunch of phone calls for him. This happened between shushing the rest of the bunch.
  • Both babes and the two year old decided whatever I gave them for lunch just didn't cut it. They were deposited into bed without further fanfare.
  • I wandered over to JB's for a wonderful lunch of Papa Murphy's Veggie Delite Pizza and yogurt and fruit. Yumm!
  • We started working on some fabric items. She worked on a bag and I started cutting out some fabric for pillows. I decided I wasn't going to give up able mabel anytime soon. I totally need it for the "out" it gives me from the stresses of everyday life.
  • In the middle of it working on the pillows, I got call that the gravel truck (for our sidewalk) was on it's way. I wandered back home to wait for it.
  • As the truck was dumping it's load, JB called and said there was a slight change of plans...she was going to meet her husband for an early supper date.
  • Since I couldn't tell her not to go, I decided to make the most out of the rest of the afternoon. I headed outside with my camera.
  • As I was taking pictures, I decided I was too lazy to find something solid to set the signs on when I took their pictures. As they say..."haste makes waste"! I should have know better. I'll have to retake them all because it bugs me that the bottom of the backdrop isn't smooth. Completely stupid of me!!
  • I did manage to get some better pictures of our pouches. I'll try to get the new pictures loaded onto the listings over this next week.
It was not exactly how I had planned for my day to go...

Here is one picture that was okay...I got it listed today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let this be a lesson to us...

Ever since we've started able mabel we've been pretty bashful about talking about it and handing out our business cards to our friends and family. I'm not really sure why. I suppose it's kind of like bragging or thinking we're hot stuff or something like that. Guess our parents raised us to be somewhat "humble" (for lack of a better word). We're no better than anyone else...and that is true.

Anyway, I always carry business cards around in my purse but hardly ever pull them out. A few weeks ago we had gone out to eat for a going away party for some of our friends (boo-hooo!!). One of our friends asked how business was going. Others chimed in wanting to hear more about it. Someone else mentioned that they've tried to find us on Etsy but haven't been able to. In a moment of bravery, I pulled out my business cards (feeling a little bit stupid for doing it though) and gave out three of them.

On Sunday JB called me and said that one of those friends that I gave a business card to wanted to buy a blanket and could I please bring it to church with me. Then the whole "doubting" thing kicked in..."Does she think she's getting ripped off? Are we charging too much? Not enough? Is it good enough for her? What if she doesn't like it once she sees it "in person"???" All those lame questions were going thru my mind. I know, I know, it doesn't make sense. I don't have any reservations selling to people I don't know but when you know them and know them well, it's a whole 'nother ballgame!

Then this morning JB called and said that our mom's oldest sister is in town and would like to see our stuff. We were going to meet for lunch and they'd like me to bring a sampling of what we have. (But bring all the purses) I was still doing the typical hem and haw at that point, wondering if I should even go. My house was still a mess and needed some serious help!

It was JB's turn to be not so sure about the whole thing. "what if they don't like it? should we even bother?", etc.

Needless to say...We sold three items to my mom and her sisters and sister-in-laws! Plus handed out 7 more business cards. We could have told a few more things but I didn't have them with me.

I was thrilled and it put a little spring into my step. At the same time, I know there is a very fine line between "hawking" your goods to friends and family, expecting them to buy from you and taking about it if someone asks about it.

Here's some of what we just sold...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pausing to catch my breath

after a super busy weekend! It was busy, yet awesome, we had a lot of fun!

Our out of town friends are on their way to the family cabin. I was feeling bad for them this morning. First out water heater gave out last night, so no hot water for showers this morning. Then the coffee pot decided enough was enough and refused to brew another pot. (good thing we live by JB. I just ran over there and made a pot of coffee) To top it off, their almost two year old has an ear infection and is not happy at all. As they were packing up, their family doctor called and agreed to call in a prescription for her. Hopefully she'll feel better soon!

I'm hoping later this week we can get back to creating some new things for able mabel. My fingers are itching to make something. My work area in the basement is out of control, so that's my project for this afternoon. I'll probably try to get outside and take some more pictures also.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This morning I got a

message from someone telling us that we made the front page on Etsy! What does that mean? It means that someone liked something of ours and it ended up being selected for the front page! It was the fireworks garland sister K made. The views on it skyrocketed and so did the number of people that hearted us.

I'm pretty sure that was the first time. None of our other items have jumped some 400 views in such a short amount of time. It was so exciting! I think it resulted in our one sale for today. The more exposure the better!

Right after that I got another message saying our children's smock got featured on a blog.


Psst...see that little black dot on her neck? She got into the black paint that was being used for painting the rebar for our front deck. She was feeling artsy that day and decided to paint the garage door black using a stick. It was nearly impossible to scrub off her skin! For the sake of this picture, we'll just call it a "beauty mark"!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some of my sisters

came over today. Earlier this week sister M had called wondering if I would give her and my brother's girlfriend haircuts. Since they were crazy enough to ask, I was crazy enough to say yes. As if I know what I'm doing. I mean, I cut my girls' hair and I've cut some of my sisters' hair, but still...
Sister L called after that wondering if the rest of the big happy family could come along too. Since they offered to bring lunch, I said "Sure, why not!"

After we ate and I had given the haircuts, the subject turned to able mabel. Our brother's girlfriend hadn't really heard what we've been up to. JB mentioned that while I was entertaining out of town guests, she had made a few more necklaces. I told her that I would like her to model the ones we had done for me. She suggested we ask some of the sisters, the ones with the nice tan skin and long luscious locks. They agreed to model.

Here are a few of the results...

This one is my brother's girlfriend. Sister L's little girl was out on the front porch with us and was curious what it was all about!

Here is sister L holding the first batch of necklaces. We were waiting for JB to run home and get the just completed ones. She was being lippy (shocking!!!) and saying that when she does her modeling assignments, they always do a "wind blowing in her hair" shot. And we can also send her compensation check to her agent. Dream on Honey!!

Last, but not least, is sister M. She ended up with most of the modeling since her shirt matched most of the necklaces. This necklace is one of my favorite ones JB did.