Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's Up Wednesdays :: Hell Yeah!

I have been sewing like crazy!

I have piles on my table and slowly, I'm getting it all sewn (almost everything takes at least an hour to sew).

And I found out on Sunday that these piles are just the beginning.

I wasn't sure I had make the cut, especially since I heard of many others getting their approval and I hadn't heard squat... but my big news this week is I was accepted in to The Big Crafty!

Hell yeah!

It is the winter show and it's in about 5 weeks.

This is my current holy grail... I tried to get in last year and it was a no-go. But in my blog post I mentioned that it was a good thing, mainly because I wasn't ready.

Now... I'm more ready than I have ever been. I've only done one show as of this post (and one more by Dec. 5th, Big Crafty Day). It's not perfect, but in comparison to last year, I'm head & shoulders above my former self.

So this is scary/exciting.

I better get back to my piles, because after this weekend's show I have only four more weeks to sew & build up my inventory.

Hell yeah!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's Up Wednesdays :: In Preparation

I haven't posted in a while mainly because I was off to Nebraska for my brother's wedding.

Now that I'm back, I'm getting ready for another craft show.

This time, I have a two day show November 6-7th.

So I'm gearing up & getting stuff cut, sewn & labeled so I have enough inventory. I'm also presenting a new item at the show, so I want to have a few samples for sale.

I'm also spending money! I recently got more business cards and I'm gonna purchase a bigger & better bag display for this show. I had a decent display last time, but since I mainly make bags I figured I better put my best foot forward.

I will be very busy for a while, but I will try to post more often... now that I'm home & in the craft room.

P.S., I'm still waiting to hear back from The Big Crafty... I know some have already received their acceptance... I'm sure I will be waiting up until the last moment. Sigh...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mediocre Mondays :: The Beauty of Celery

Just celery. This has nothing to do with crafts... I just thought it was beautiful.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"Fan of" CatzillaCrafts

This week I want to brag about CatzillaCrafts. I admired her stuff online for a while, but a few months back I was able to see her awesome crocheted cacti in person!
Needless to say, I was weak in the knees and I went home with a cute cactus (featuring an even cuter pink flower).

Her Etsy shop is full of many other things besides cacti. There are many plushies (owls, cats & other creatures), cat toys, record bowls & purses.

She also offers crochet patterns. All of it is wonderful and I'm looking forward to buying some more goodies.

CatzillaCrafts has been selling on Etsy for years and her patterns have been featured in magazines and will be seen in an upcoming book.

Please go to her shop, look around... enjoy the desert scenery... and buy me another cactus. They are super affordable, so you can always buy yourself one too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's Up Wednesdays :: The Takeover

Recently I rearranged my room. The last time, I was just in one corner and I expanded to half the room. This time I concurred the entire room!

And I had to... the half of the room I was using became messier as m. ranae got busier.

I added another table to lay things out. The two tables were centered in the room and I spaced everything else around them.

I added two shelves I bought from Ikea (I HEART IKEA!). I used these to sort my fabrics... I finally have enough of a fabric stash to sort them by color.

I also scored some great deals at Goodwill, Dollar Tree and Dollar General for bins, drawers & baskets.

I keep all "office" related stuff on one side of the room and supplies & such on the other side.

I am still having trouble finding where I put everything, but it's so much roomier and I'm able to spread out and work more efficiently.

So now that I've taken over most of the east wing of my house, I need to start planning how I'm gonna take over the world (one handmade bag at a time).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time-Traveling Thursday :: Hair Fail

I was thirteen and curly. On my head was hair that most people told me I was “blessed” to have.

Sure, curly hair can be beautiful, but it’s a helluva lot easier to curl straight hair than straighten curly hair.

My 13-year-old attempts to straighten my hair worked, but it was still frizzy. I needed a solution. I had no money. And my mother wasn’t gonna pony-up cash for expensive creams or treatments.

“I’m crafty and creative,” I told myself. “I can find a solution,” I told myself.
And one day, I figured it out... or so I thought.

Now, before I tell you how I solved my problem, let me tell you that I honestly don’t remember why “this” seemed like the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how this item came to mind. But once I set my hopes on something, I’m just gonna do it. And really, at the time, it made sense.

My solution was plain ol’ vegetable oil.

Yep. Like the kind my mother cooked with. Yep. That’s the stuff.

I put the oil in a spray bottle and I sprayed my hair lightly. This made it glossy, but it was still very frizzy.

What the hell... let’s add more.

So I sprayed more on and at this point, I’m realizing that I may need to rub the oil in to get the desired effect. So I’m rubbing and it’s looking glossy & smooth.

So I’m spraying more, more to get deep into the hair, and I’m rubbing & smoothing my tresses down.

Now, my thirteen-year-old mind, is thinking that my plan has worked. And I’m sure a diabolical laugh came out.

“Let’s throw caution to the wind,” I say to myself. So I sprayed and rubbed like my life depended on it. I put enough vegetable oil in my hair to make sopapillas.

Oh! And I remember the joy I felt. It was so smooth and glossy. It only had a slight curl to it and it was so, so sleek.

I wore my hair this way for a day or two. I remember my blue bed sheets looked kinda funny (can someone say “grease spot?”), but I never gave it another thought.

Around day four came the most cringe-worthy moment.

I wanted to test my new hair. It was still looking sleek and I only had to add a little bit of oil here and there to smooth it back down. It still had quite a bit of wave to it and I became curious about how beautiful it might be if I straightened it; so I plugged in my curling iron...

You know, looking back now, I’m surprised I didn’t cook my hair right off my “blessed” head. And if I smelled a little funny before straightening my hair, you can bet your sweet cheeks that I smelled like fried chicken after straightening my hair.

And maybe I am selling my thirteen-year-old self a little short in the crafty department; because even though I put cooking oil in my hair and slid the slick strands between a hot curling iron, I did achieve the look I wanted. I succeeded.

I loved my new hair. Simple as that.

The vegetable oil phase only lasted a week, at the most. My mother may have noticed, but she never said a thing. It was summertime, so I didn’t go to school this way, but I’m sure I visited with a close friend or two. No one ever mentioned my new style.

The allure wore off. It was stinky and hard to care for and eventually, I noticed that it was too smooth and slick. And maybe, just maybe, I looked in the mirror and realized that I looked ridiculous (although I doubt I caught on that easily).

I returned the unused oil to the kitchen and washed my sheets. My room reeked of warm, homemade tortilla chips for a week but it was the last time I went to extremes for my hair.

I didn’t process that time in my life until I was in my 20’s... and when I thought of that incident, I laughed my butt off.

Thirteen was a hard age. And even to this day, it isn’t easy seeing commercials, TV shows, movies and glossy magazine pages with (mainly) smooth-haired women.

People still think I’m “blessed” with great hair. And, yeah, sometimes I like my hair.

Mainly, I live with it. It is what it is and what it is is curly.

And not that “curly” you see in magazines... that is wavy hair that had been curled with an iron.

You can’t trick me, Cosmopolitan. I know curly and I know slick when I see it.

Current picture of me... and my curly hair.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Fan of" Sublime Stitching

Dream Garden by Jenny Hart

m. ranae designs is a big 'ol fan of Sublime Stitching!

Sublime Stitching is the dream of Jenny Hart, stitcher-extraordinaire! In 2001, Jenny launched Sublime Stitching out of her own personal need for better embroidery instructions and her "stitch or die" attitude.
She, alone, brought back the resurgence of embroidery in teens & 20-somethings. Her easy instructions & hip patterns have launched the craft of embroidery into new heights (and new age groups).

I found Sublime Stitching in the back of an old issue of Bust Magazine (my favorite magazine... feel free to buy me a subscription). After that I was logged into Jenny's site reading & practicing her how-to's. I also tried to get a stitching group together here in Asheville, but the response was minimal and we didn't get past one meeting. But I've been stitching ever since.

Recently, I submitted a project of mine for Sublime Stitching's Combo Contest, where we were asked to combine at least three of Jenny's patterns into one project.

Here is my submission:

So if you're looking for a new craft to try, try Sublime Stitching on for size. Through her website you can purchase kits to get you started. She also has a few crafty books that have been published and you can find those at any book store... just ask for books by Jenny Hart or Sublime Stitching. And check out the website & blog for more info & how-to's.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Mediocre Mondays :: Green Ribbon

So silky & pretty. Used for a custom makeup bag order.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Time

I’ve been tossing around ideas for a while now on how to improve my blog. I know, at the very least, that I need to blog more.

So I’ve been keeping a notebook of blog ideas and as of Monday (tomorrow) I am starting a new format.

The new format is:
Mediocre Mondays - You know how Mondays just kinda stink because the weekend is over and you’ve got 5 days of work ahead. No one wants to put effort in on a Monday. So for Monday’s blog post it will just be a photo. Easy, simple & takes the least amount of work.
Tips & Tricks Tuesdays - These posts will feature ideas, short-cuts and tutorials. This is the day to watch for if you’re curious how something is done.
What’s Up Wednesdays - Wednesday will be the day we review what is happening in my little room. You can see what projects are in the works and what is ahead for the week.
Time Traveling Thursdays - This will be a fun day, trust me. I’ve been crafty as far back as I remember. Thursday will be the day we look back at my previous craftiness (Barbie clothes, anyone?).
“Fan of” Fridays - This will be the day I shine a spotlight on other crafters/cool stuff/news/blogs/etc.

I won’t post five times a week, quite yet, but the goal is at least 2-3 times a week. For sure, you will see the first post tomorrow.

Thanks for reading so far... I hope the journey gets better from here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to Normal


I've been working on a few large projects.

One was that crazy magnet order... 320 magnets. They were being used as wedding favors. It took a few weeks, but with my husband & mother's help we pulled it all together.

Then I accepted a quest to make 5 foam bags for a piece of medical equipment. I finally finished the demo bag (just to make sure everything was the correct size) and I've got the official order to make 5.
That is a continuous thing I will work on, but the demo was the main hurdle to get over.

Now I'm trying to get back to normal.

I finished an actual m. ranae designs bag yesterday (the first in a month) and I'm looking into some craft shows for this year (I believe I have a November one set up already).

Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will meet with the Asheville Etsy Street Team group to plan our own show.

On top of all this, I've decided to start selling AVON. That I decided because I was having a hard time keeping an AVON Lady and I love, love, love AVON. All but one item in my makeup bag is AVON and I really like their jewelry. So... if you're in the area and want to look at a brochure HIT ME UP! I'm doing this to support my habit, but it can't hurt to sell some stuff to others.

That's the plan for now... to keep on working.

Oh! I am working so hard that it's time to hire a bookkeeper and possibly an Intern. More on that to come...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In Like a Lion

What's up with me?

About everything!

March has been crazy and I'm seeing some more craziness in my future.

I've sold two items so far this month, which is nice. It's been so slow on Etsy and I hope this is a sign that business is gonna pick up!
Also I sold a huge custom order on Etsy. A lady from California bought 320 custom magnets to give as favors for her wedding. I've ordered all the supplies and those should all be in by Wednesday. After Wednesday, I will be elbow-deep in magnets & gems & glue & loteria cards. I can't wait!

Also I've decided to spearhead an Etsy Craft Show. So I've been e-mailing back & forth with other Etsy sellers in the area and we plan to meet in a few days to start planning.
I don't know when the show is gonna be, but I'll let you know when I know.

So between magnets & craft shows... I looks like March is gonna go out like a lion too.

I'm happy to be busy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Snow Project

Everyone has been hit with snow... even Texas! I say that not even knowing if Texas normally gets snow.
We here in NC haven't been hit the hardest, but since we're not at all used to it... it feels hard!

Often I was snowed in or it was just too damn cold to leave the house. And yeah, I could've made a m. ranae bag or wallet or something... but deep inside I needed a personal craft to help pass the time.

I've been feeling the need to journal more... or write more poems... or document my adventures... or all of the above. And I was super-duper close to buying a journal made by someone else on Etsy. But after looking at the journals the DIYer in me said "you can totally make that yourself." So I put down the credit card and instead, picked up some paper.

I decided to make a mixed-paper journal, similar to the ones I saw online. But I made my pages bigger (8"x5") and I put more pages in it (which I later decided was a little too much). I used a lot of the paper items I had on hand (I'm a packrat, you know). And I used a junk piece of pvc plastic (sign materials) to make the cover. It was all pulled together with large binder rings.

Below is a look inside my new journal and a little insight to why the pages are mixed.

I used cards & other smaller bits of paper that had meaning or were beautiful in some way. It will make for a short journal entry, a drawing or maybe a haiku.

I used many different colored papers & scrapbook papers. Many were picked at random and I hope that when I get to those pages the colors or design will inspire my writing.

This picture shows a page with "blue" written on it... again that's a springboard for my writing. The other page is a piece of file folder, cut to fit the book. Honestly, that was just added for fun.

This is a great page! It's part of an old calendar. I put mailing decals on it so I'd have somewhere to write.

This is my version of one of the ideas I saw online. It's an envelope. I put three or four envelopes throughout the book... this one has a photo inside. Again the photo is to help springboard my writing.

Top view of the whole book. As you can see... lots & lots of different paper.

And... the cover. I just picked a piece of scrapbook paper that I liked.

Overall, it took a few days of work to put it all together. But it's a beautiful project that has brought me much pride. As of this post I've only written in it once, but I'm really, really excited for writing the book will inspire.

Want to make your own? Write me and I'll gladly guide you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Belated Resolutions

Well, I'm a sucker for peer pressure.

All along the web I've seen people (bloggers and such) talking about their New Years resolutions, in the crafty sense. Some talk about all the things they want to accomplish and all the things they want to create. Others talk about things they'd like to avoid or things they'll change.

And I'm usually a firm believer that resolutions don't work. Blah, blah change... blah, blah diet... blah, blah bigger boobs.

But secretly, I've been finding my hate towards resolutions softening. I now see that a new year is like changing the sheets. It's so fresh and crisp and it smells awesome!
Plus, everyone else is doing it (don't worry, this never worked on me with smoking).

So here are a few of my resolutions. Some are personal, but most involve m. ranae.

-- Blog more. No surprises here... especially if you actually read my blog and wait patiently for the next post (which sometimes takes a while).

-- Upload to Etsy more frequently. It's a known fact that the more days you upload stuff to Etsy the more "seen" you are. I use to upload tons of things at a time... now I pace myself (like a seasoned runner... running, of which I know nothing about).

-- Do at least one craft show. This may be harder than I think, because you have to be accepted to do it. I was recently rejected... so maybe my rejection streak will continue. Nonetheless, I'm gonna try.

-- Keep track of my papers. I don't sell tons & tons of stuff, but the bit I do involves some paperwork. This year I'm gonna keep my files organized and easy to locate. Yay!

-- Keep track of my life. I'm forgetful and scattered and sometimes I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I have an iPod with all the right apps... I just need to use them.

-- Learn more about running a business. I feel the key to success is know your enemy. My enemy is bookkeeping and other business related voodoo. I bought a "Gardening for Dummies" book and now I can actually grow things. I plan on buying "Small Business for Dummies" and start growing my biz.

-- Play more Plants vs. Zombies. Nuff said. Really.

-- Get healthier. I take a lot of vitamins and I try to be conscience of what I eat and do. I got into the habit of exercising last year, but fell out of it. This year I'm gonna conquer exercising.

-- Perfect my art. Every day I get better and better are making my bags, wallets, pouches & such. But there is still room for improvement. There are still things to learn. So I'm gonna keep on keeping on.

Well that is it for now. I'm sure along the way I'll decide that exercising sucks, Plants vs Zombies is time consuming and it's more fun to play games on my iPod than work. But I'm a winner as long as I try to follow these resolutions

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eureka! Fabric Flowers!

So I had a dilemma...
My new Pockety Bag needed something.
What did it need? I did not know... but something.
The overall look was good, but something was missing.

I need a little flower! Yes, a cute little flower pinned to one side.

And I thought about it for a while... I honestly wasn't sure where to start making a flower. I messed with some ribbon and scraps of fabric, but I wasn't coming up with something I liked. I searched Etsy for awhile looking for brooches & fabric flowers. All were great, but I didn't want to jack up the price of my bag because I purchased something from someone else. I needed to figure out how to make one.

So I considered using someone else's pattern. After searching the internet I finally found a flower I could be proud of... Wise Craft's Flowers. There is a downloadable pattern and full instructions.

These were created by this awesome lady named Blair. She's even more awesome because she let me use the flower pattern on my bags. And I so, so thank her.

I made my first one... the yellow one for the bag and I loved it. Wise Craft even says in her blog how addicting they are... and they are. I ended up making four total that day, but as I type this I get the urge for more... one in every color!

Anyhow... the flower was what was missing from the bag. Now it looks awesome instead of just "great." This exact bag is now for sale on my Etsy. You can check out the rest of the Pockety Tote here. And check out Wise Craft's blog... it's one of the best crafty blogs out there... I swear. I'm not just sucking up 'cuz she let me use her pattern. She is super-crafty.