National Small Business Week (5/20/12-5/26/12)

Did you know that this week is National Small Business week??

Do your part and shop at your favorite small business this week (well, heck, every week).  Here are a few I would like to recommend to you:

GeminiRed Creations – this is my little business where I get to be crafty and use my brain for something more than keeping everyone in line in Corporate America all day!

Wickedly Wooden – this is the business my brother, Scott, and his girlfriend, Nicole, own.  They are extremely talented and make amazing hand-carved wood pieces (jewelry, toys, etc)

Extreme Cakes by Heather – my incredibly talented friend of many years, Heather, makes such beautiful cakes in her shop in CT where she also offers decorating parties for kids.

Dance Express – my friend, Jennifer, of over 35 years has danced for as long as I’ve known her.  She was recently honored with an award for “Outstanding Teen Leader” by The Greater Norwich Anti-Bullying Coalition.

Carole Bache Esthetics – facials and waxing services offered by Carole are awesome!  Talk about feeling relaxed (even while having hair forcibly removed from your body).

Rinse Bath & Body – if you don’t know by now (then maybe you aren’t following my blog or Facebook pages closely enough) I am a HUGE fan of Rinse Bath & Body.  The creativity my friend Heather puts into her beautiful products is 2nd to none!  Let’s just say I will never buy another soap again!

The Edible Canvas – Leisa made some absolutely delicious white chocolate cupcakes for my birthday last year!  She does great work and works around the clock for her customers!

Fit2DMax – what can I say about Max other than he’s one of the most geniuine people I know.  He truly believes in helping people from head to toe.  It’s not just about working out – it’s about making sure there is a good spiritual connection too!

Mr. K’s Cookies – if you haven’t been to the Marietta Square Farmer’s Market and picked up some Mr. K’s cookies you are missing out!  I tried the Cherry Oatmeal the other day and think I now have a new favorite!

TMax Training – I’ve been lucky in life to meet some great people (and people who know how to tolerate me even at my worst) and Terry is one of them.  Terry has been my personal trainer on and off for years.  He was there the day I broke my toe by dropping a 35 pound weight on it at the gym (entirely my fault – he was not my trainer at the time).  He was there through medical obstacles and he put up with a lot of “BS” from me.

K.Leigh Creative – I met Kristen by accident years ago when I had my salon.  I received a postcard in the mail about her design work and decided to give her a call.  We met briefly and I told her that I was looking for a new website design – something wavy, flowy, and pretty with light mint green and brown.  She offered me 3 designs and I fell in love!  We’ve been friends ever since!  And I look forward to her helping me build my GeminiRed Creations website and shop in the near future!

Sweet Escape Yoga – Kristen of K.Leigh Creative is also a talented yoga instructor.  She teaches you in an easy to understand manner and is very understanding of those of us that are so clumsy we hurt ourselves just getting in and out of a pose.

Amor Fitness & Nutrition – Adele and Andre rock it out with regard to their garage training. They have taken people from couch potatoes to competitors!

And, of course, I love all my salon owner friends and firmly believe in going to a local small salon vs a “big box chain” salon!

…and many more!!

SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS – THEY ARE WHAT FUELS THE ECONOMY!

*I know I probably forgot to mention some of my other favorites, and maybe even businesses my close friends own.  Please forgive me for leaving anyone off.  I turn 42 this week, but I’m pretty sure that as of late my brain is more like that of a 90 year old!  Time to get back to taking my vitamins!

**Also, I realize that my blog is “My Craft Corner” but I honestly feel like the people I’ve mentioned above are practicing their crafts by doing the jobs they do!

Teacher Appreciation Week (5/7-5/11)

Not only is the end of the school year fast approaching, and not only are parents scrambling around to figure out a great gift to give the teachers who have helped develop and mold their child(ren) over the past school year, but Teacher Appreciation Week is only a couple weeks away!  It starts May 7th and is a week dedicated to showing appreciation for those teachers who have spent hours with your child – teaching them, mentoring them, and helping them grow into the wonderful people who will lead this country one day.

I recently made a cute “pencil” holder.  It is created using a tin can and pencils and tied with a bow.  This is a great gift to present to a teacher and can be filled with flowers or pens and pencils for their desk.

No time to craft your own gift or help your child make something…let me know and I can make this or something else for you.  Check out my Gift Ideas board on Pinterest.

And…for my friends that are teachers – thank you for doing an important job!  You probably don’t hear it often, but what you do is very important!

 

It’s Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day I’d like to show you some things I’ve created recently by upcycling and recycling.

Do you have a bunch of t-shirts around that you don’t wear anymore for one reason or another?  The most common reason I don’t wear them is because (1) I’m not a huge fan of t-shirts and (2) when I do find one I like I always make the mistake of putting it in the dryer and the darn thing shrinks up!

So…I am making them into “shopping bags” you can use when running errands!

 

I cut the sleeves off, cut out the neck and then sewed the bottom shut and VIOLA – you have a shopping bag!

Next…I recycled some tulle from a friend’s wedding to make two super cute wreaths that would be perfect in a little girl’s room as a decoration or on her bedroom door letting all the world know that a princess lives there!

And lastly, a couple months ago I made this…I used canvas and randomly added pieces of leftover scraps of fabric to make a piece of wall art for my sewing/crafting room.   This is a great way to use small pieces that you might throw in the trash.  Go green and make an original piece of art for any space in your house!  You can use pieces of fabric or scrapbook paper and modge podge it to your canvas or to a piece of wood.  Get creative!

 

I hope you’ve had a great Earth Day and you’ve found ways to recycle and upcycle in your house!  Every little bit counts!

See you at the local vendor fair!

Some of you may know that for the last 2 years I’ve manned my friend’s booth, Rinse Bath & Body, at the local Marietta Square Farmer’s Market.  Well, this Saturday is the start of year 3 and I can’t wait.  I love being there, talking to the customers, and meeting lots of great people.  And, the following day – Easter Sunday – I will be manning the Rinse booth at The Blue Market held at Blue Mark Studios which is an awesome old church that has been repurposed into a studio.  The 2nd Sunday of every month lots of great, local artisans get together at this incredible venue and sell their fabulous wares!

I will not be featuring my GeminiRed Creations items, but I will have a few with me.  This particular event is dedicated to my friend’s business.  As you all should know by now – I’m a huge fan of small business and helping entrepreneurs succeed!  Please come check out this event – if you can’t make it on Sunday because of family obligations, I look forward to seeing you in May!

This is a list of local artists who have signed up for April 8th –

* A. Thai Jewelry * Dana Burrell, Terminus Studios * GMC Brushworks and Imprints *

* K. Bailey * Mark of the Sun Ceramics by Jill Slavin * Only Natural Jewelry *

* Portia Mack Collection * Rinse * Silver Talisman *

* Survivehers * Susan Hnatuick * Taaliyah Creations *

AND…there will be some awesome food trucks too!  Last time I was there The Good Food truck was there (their truck serves something called The Poodle – it’s a hotdog on a french toast bun with apple slaw – OMG).  Anyway…I know everything will be great and you really should check it out and support local artists in the area!

One of my best customers!

Today I received a text from the mother of one of my best customers!  I guess you’d actually say her mom is my best customer, but Sloane loves wearing the aprons and hair clips I’ve made her.  Last year I made her this short apron.

  

Last week I made her a full length apron – the first one I’ve made.  Here is a picture of her today wearing her apron to make cupcakes!  Isn’t she the best model?!

I love making aprons – they are so much fun and there are so many beautiful fabrics to choose from.  I have a bunch of them posted on my Etsy site, but if there are colors and patterns you like I can custom make one for you.  This week I will be making one for my friend Heather to wear in her new cake shop which you can read about here and here.

My Sewing/Craft Room

As a rule I hate clutter – I love things in their proper place (ask the people I work with full-time and they will tell you I notice right away if someone has taken a pen from my pen cup).  But…I can definitely tell when I’m in the middle of several projects at once.  And that epiphany came earlier when I took these pictures of my sewing/craft room (what a mess).

This is my sewing/craft table.

My reading chair that is a “fabric holder” right now.

Another view of the table, plus a storage drawer thingy.  On the floor in one bag is new fabric I just bought (needs to be washed) and Easter grass for baskets and such.

Hanging on one of the hooks of the 4 cute dresses on the wall is an “in process” mobile – I’ve been hand cutting butterflies because I do not yet have a Cricut.  Hanging on the chair is a doggy fleece I’ve been making for 2 months – the straps that go under the belly need to be adjusted and I just haven’t done it yet.

Below are Minnie Mouse heads made out of styrofoam that I made as a “sample” for a 1st birthday party.  They can be used as centerpieces or we can make them into “magic wands” for the bigger kids.

You will also notice my teddy bear that is not yet finished.  Oh this guy has given me a run for my money.  He is the 3rd pattern I’ve tried.  I really, really want to make some bears, but they are kicking my butt!  I don’t like the way his snout turned out and that’s his tail between his legs right now.  All the yellow on the table are birthday party gift bags I’m making (50 of them) for another 1st birthday party.

The flowered item on the table is a full apron I made for a co-worker’s daughter.  It has her name in sparkly glitter fabric paint on the upper pocket.  The mass of yellow goes with the gift bags for the birthday party.

Before this was my craft room it was my reading room (although I read in bed more than I read in here).  So, I still have some of my books on this bookshelf, but I’ve added lots of sewing related books and craft stuff that I need.  I have several finished products on the shelves too (waiting to find their forever home on Etsy).  On top of the bookshelves are my labeled plastic bins so I know quickly where things are.  And to the left you will see my handmade ribbon holder which has been great!  I can easily access what I need and I just use a small pin to keep them from being messy.

For the record, my room does not typically look like this except when I’m in the middle of projects.  Tonight before I go to bed it will be nice and neat.  It just so happens this was a 3 day weekend for me (thank you George Washington and those that came after you) so I was up to my eyeballs in stuff.  But throughout the week it’s nice and neat because, as my mother always said to my brother and me growing up – you never know who will stop by. (BTW…I’ll be 42 this year and I’m still trying to figure out why we had to make our bed before school because if anyone stopped by while we were at school and my mom was at work I think we might have had bigger problems than that.)

I have read that a cluttered work space is a sign of creativity – I agreea little.  I like things to be neat so that I can focus and have a clear head to finish the projects to the best of my ability.  It’s almost 10:00 pm so I need to go finish cleaning everything up so I can head to bed and read the great crafting blogs I love to follow.  I try to read at least 15 minutes a night.

Lots to do…one thing finished!

So glad to have a 3 day weekend (thank you George Washington)!  I have lots to do and only finished one thing!  I had covered a wreath with white grosgrain ribbon about a month or so ago and have been looking at it ever since to determine how I was going to decorate it.  I finally decided tonight to make it an Easter wreath.  I searched the web for inspiration and decided to cover it with pink Easter grass, small plastic Easter eggs, and a little pom-pom Easter Bunny head.  I think it turned out great if I do say so myself!  I will take a much better photo of it tomorrow so I can post it on my Etsy site.  But, at 9:00 pm at night I’m lacking the natural light that comes in through the windows during the day.  I will probably hang it on the front door to take it’s picture tomorrow.

I was going to make a trip to the store today to get some black latex paint to make a second attempt at painting some styrofoam balls to make Minnie Mouse heads, but I took my mother to see an awesome performance of Alvin Ailey’s Dance Company at the wonderful Fox Theatre in Atlanta today and it was way more important than black paint.  I will be making at least one Minnie Mouse head as a demo to show a friend for her daughter’s upcoming 1st birthday party.  I made Minnie Mouse head invitations for her based on links she sent me from the web.

I will also be cutting out lots of large triangles to sew together for another friend’s child’s birthday party.  They will be made into “penalty flag” goody bags.  I will make a handful tomorrow moring and send her a picture to see if we are on the right track.

The awesome thing about not having my own kids is I can help other people with birthday celebrations all year long and not just once with a child of my own.

And oh gosh…I have a kissing ball to finish – I’ve been putting pretty pink and green ribbons on my styrofoam ball.  A teddy bear to finish.  A teddy bear to rip seems out of and fix up.  Two full aprons to make (my first attempt at the full aprons) – one for mom and one for daughter.  I wonder what else is on my unfinished list – this surely can’t be all of it!

 

Well…*fingers crossed* I actually get stuff done!

Aprons runneth over…

If you don’t know already, I help my friend Heather (yes – even another Heather than the one I’ve mentioned in previous posts) at the local Marietta Square Farmers Market from April-September/October.  I. LOVE. IT! First, I love her products – Rinse Bath & Body. Second, I have met some of the most amazing people while working the booth.  Third, it gets me out of the house on a Saturday morning instead of sleeping too late. Oh…and this might be one of the best things – it’s located right next to Sugar Cakes Patisserie located in the center of Marietta Square and they offer up some yummy breakfast options when I am there early in the a.m.

Last year I decided I would like to have an apron I can wear to keep my money close by and just make it easy to keep up with the things I need to operate the booth.  So I made an apron.  Well…here’s what that ONE apron turned into.  ONE apron has turned into a pile o’ aprons!  I have them listed on my Etsy site (and if you remember – I give 10% of everything I sell to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation).

 

Here are 2 bright, fun aprons that are perfect for spring and maybe an afternoon tea party with friends!

 

I’ve sold a few to friends for their young daughters so they can feel grown up and help in the kitchen.  This weekend I will be working on 2 full-length aprons for a mother and daughter.  I have lots of fun colors to chose from.

Do you believe in small business?

Do you believe that small business and entrepreneurship is important to the future of the U.S.?  Do you believe that small business helps provide jobs and helps the economy?  I DO!

I told you about my friend Heather’s business recently (Extreme Cakes by Heather).  She just signed the lease on a store front for her cake business.  The rent is reasonable, but there is a lot of work to be done to get it ready and all the while she still has cakes to make.

If you are someone who supports small business and you click the “LIKE” button on Facebook anytime the American Express Small Business Saturday events come up – then I need your help (well, my friend needs your help).  She has set up a site on GoFundMe to raise working capital for her new business.  Heather and I are alike in that we are both hard-working girls who believe in going after your dream.  I worked for a year and a half to put together a plan to buy my salon and finally signed papers in the fall of 2006.  It wasn’t the success (I had to close it in 2008) I had hoped for – but I had a dream and I went after it and I hope to do it again one day.

When I closed my salon I made a personal vow to myself to help anyone I know who has a small business or the dream of having one.  Heather’s creativity when it comes to cake decorating is amazing!  Here is one of the recent ones she made which I love (I have a soft spot for Coach handbags).

 

If you’d like to support Heather – ever dollar counts – please use this link to do so.  Please consider giving just a few dollars to see someone’s dream come true and also to help stimulate the economy (she is helping by taking an empty building and making it generate income for the landlord and for her, she will be able to employ people as she grows her business, she will be buying supplies, paying utilities and the list goes on of ways she will be part of the growth of our economy).

Please know that I do not endorse people freely – you have to earn my trust and I have to know you are worth endorsing.  I’ve known Heather for well over (oh god – I can’t believe I’m admitting this) 20 years and she is one person I would stand behind over and over again!

Wickedly Wooden

Yesterday I highlighted my friend’s new cake business.  Today I’d like to tell you about my brother’s (Scott) wood carving business.  My brother and his girlfriend (Nicole) are so talented I cannot even contain myself when it comes to their work!

They have a Facebook page where they can tell all their friends and fans about new pieces of work and an Etsy shop.  They hand carve beautiful pieces of wood into magnificent works of art.  If only I was half as talented!

Scott has been what I consider a gifted artist for as long as I can remember.  He was always drawing and he made some amazing pieces in his high school art class – some were featured in our local library at the time.  I also remember a time that while bored in class he started drawing on his pants – his teacher ended up giving him an “A” for those pants!

Throughout the years my brother has created many beautiful pen and ink drawings, pencil drawings and an array of other things.  A few years ago he started to do some wood carving and it has now turned into a side business (he’d love for it to be full-time, but there are bills to pay so for now he will continue to work his full-time job).  Scott and Nicole now do some arts and craft festivals, weather permitting in Maine, to show off their talents and sell their beautiful work.

You can learn a little bit more about how they got started by checking out their website – Wickedly Wooden.

Here is a glimpse of some work they have done.

Angels:

 

Running Man necklace: 

 

 Double Wave:

    

Art work I love:

 

As a previous small business owner myself I strongly believe in and support small business and entrepreneurship.  I will be featuring some of my favorites from time to time and I hope you will help support them as well.  Small business is what keeps America going and without it we will not thrive!