First Glimpses of Detroit Living

As you may (or may not) know, I recently relocated to Detroit, Michigan from Columbus, Ohio. For the past month I've been living back and forth between the two places, and this week I officially settled into full on Detroit living! The immediate reason for my move was to open and run the Half Mile Handmade pop-up shop at Capitol Park in Detroit (presented by Bedrock Detroit). However, regarding the long term... opening a permanent location has been in my mind and on my heart for at least a year now. This opportunity was perfect timing for me to transition and start to look for spaces and continue to make all of my handmade dreams come true!

Over the course of the past few weeks I've done A LOT of work but found some time to play too and I thought it would be fun to share just what I've been up to. Let's dive right in! 

On my very first day, I ended up with a parking ticket and decided to drink my sorrows away at Woodward Avenue Brewers. I picked this place because they are pet friendly and I love taking my little Jahjeh with me wherever I can! My next day of adventures took me to many places along the Q Line that runs along Woodward Avenue in Detroit. I am able to get on it a 15 minute walk from my apartment and it will take me all the way to the waterfront in downtown Detroit. I had greek yogurt for breakfast at Dime Store in Chrysler House, then proceeded to wander around downtown. This took me to the HUSTLE exhibit, which they were calling a 'science gallery.' It's a guided tour through an interactive exhibit that shows how the arts and sciences can overlap. It was very interesting, but I think a lot of the pieces were admittedly over my head lol. Afterward, I walked down to Hart Plaza, checked out the waterfront, and waived to Canada (fingers crossed Drake saw me too). Before heading back home I made a quick stop to Capitol Park to speak with some of the vendors doing the pop-up before me. Paisley Paper Co. and Dale and Blue were complete sweethearts and shared their first hand experience with me. I felt a lot more prepared after speaking with them! On the way back to my apartment I jumped off the Q Line and ducked into Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. to meet a vendor for products for our pop-up. The vibe in there was fabulous, and the baristas were so nice to this girl who always orders "the sweetest thing you have."

Arcade Fire Set List.jpg

Between the back and forth, I was also able to squeeze in a concert at DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan. I went to see Arcade Fire for the second time and they were equally as amazing as the first time I saw them. Also, inserting the set list for your viewing pleasure (don't get too jealous, they played a lot of good ones)! I grabbed a wheat everything bagel from the Detroit Institute of Bagels one morning too. This week, Laura from Ferne Boutique took me to a couple of places near my apartment (Kiesling and Northern Lights Lounge) that I absolutely LOVED and can't wait to visit again. Bonus, Kiesling is pet friendly since they don't have a kitchen.

The last and most amazing thing I want to mention about being back in Michigan is how close I am to family. My parents came down on the 4th of July to help me unpack. We accomplished SO MUCH I desperately needed the help. I was also able to visit my sisters new store, which I never would have been able to do still living in Ohio. I'm still feeling overwhelmingly grateful to be here and have the chance to be part of a city that is truly making its comeback. Three days of officially being here and it all still seems surreal.

Thrifting Like A Pro

If you've been following along for the past six or so months, then you know I've been working with Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio to help promote their highly anticipated (by me :D) Last Tuesday Sale! You can get 50% off EVERYTHING at all 10 of their locations on the last Tuesday of every month - how can anyone pass up a sale that good?! In December with the holidays I was unable to attend, and instead wrote a blog post listing my 8 best thrifting tips and I wanted to share the information with all of you here as well.

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Thrifting List

My business is built on the idea of using and repurposing every single salvageable scrap to make something new and useful. The primary material that I work with when creating is t-shirts. I take them and turn them into a number of products including baby bodysuits, infinity scarves, pillow covers and much more. A single t-shirt can provide materials I need for up to six different projects and Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio is my absolute favorite thrift store in Ohio to get my supply!

MAKE A LIST
If you’re a thrift-a-holic like me, a list is necessary or you’ll walk out with the whole store! Having a list helps me keep focused when there’s so much to see. I’m usually looking for specific team shirts or colors for my projects so keeping a running list of what I need at home and taking it with me ensures that I get everything I’m looking for in one trip.

TAKE NECESSITIES
Every time I thrift I make sure to bring recyclable bags, hand sanitizer, a stain remover pen (to quickly get an idea if stains on an item might easily be removed), and my list! If you’re visiting Volunteers of America for the last Tuesday sale, I’d also recommend taking some sort of portable rolling cart because sometimes getting a shopping cart that day is impossible.

SHOP WITH A BUDDY
Kelly and I love thrifting together because as I previously mentioned, there’s so much to see! It’s almost inevitable that you’ll miss something. We share with each other what items we are looking for that day and keep an eye out for those things for one another as we are perusing the racks.

BRING A PATTERN
Buy with confidence! Once purchased, items CAN NOT be returned to Volunteers of America, so you’ll want to make sure you’re picking up items that you 100% know will work. One of Kelly’s best tricks is to trace the outline of her kiddos shoes onto a piece of paper prior to coming to the thrift store. She will cut that out, slip it in her purse, and pull it out to measure when she comes across a pair of shoes that she thinks will be perfect for one of the kids. From time to time, I might also bring one of the sewing patterns I’m using with me to make sure that the graphic on a shirt will fit into the allotted area.

STOCK UP
Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Volunteers of America has the best prices on many of their items and if you know you’ll use something eventually, take the risk, buy the thing - because chances are it will be gone when you go back for it! Some of my favorite things to stock up on when I find it is yarn, fabric yardage, and picture frames.

CHECK FOR TAGS
Make sure that each item you select has a tag attached or wrote onto it. If an item at Volunteers of America is missing the price you will not be able to buy it that day, unfortunately. You will have to wait for the item to go through the production process and be priced. Production is usually during the week so if you shop during normal business hours Monday through Friday, you might be able to get an item priced for you within a few hours, instead of having to wait over the weekend.

REMOVE HANGERS IN LINE
Speed up the checkout process by removing hangers from all items while you’re waiting in line.

WHEN YOU GET HOME
Pop those tags and bask in all of the goodness you found! I also immediately wash all of the clothing items that I bought that day so I can start making with them as soon as possible.

I had to laugh to myself putting this together because the thing that my mom always took us to do on the weekends was thrifting and I HATED IT, no joke! On Saturday's after we got the house all cleaned up, going to the thrift store was like our little treat and my mom wanted to look at every single thing in the store. She, my sisters, and I would spend hours there and I remember always wishing it was time to leave. Funny how things change as we get older. I live to go thrifting now and I want to live vicariously through all of you! I always want to see your best and most exciting thrifting finds so DM them to me on Instagram or send photos to hello@craftinistagirl.com so we can relish in these treasures together!

I'm Still Alive Over Here

I have been having the best craziest busiest year of my entire life, guys! Time seems to be moving at hyper speed and I'm over here just trying to keep up the best I can. Back in January, I was looking for a fresh start with Craftinista Girl and have since been struggling with how to brand/market/and sell my handmade items without the assistance of Etsy. It has not been easy. It's actually been so difficult for me, that I've put all of my focus into other meaningful things that have unintentionally brought me a ton of joy throughout this insanely busy season of life. Ultimately, this has led to total neglect of Craftinista Girl which was not my original intent at the beginning of 2017, but here we are, and guess what?! I'M OKAY WITH IT. I wanted to share what I have been doing for the past four months and let you know I'm still alive, just in less of a creative capacity as I have been in the past.

I think the crazy really started at the end of April on my trip with Kirsten from Delirious Blue Jewelry to Craftcation. We had THE BEST time. The classes and speakers were amazing don't get me wrong... but the energy in Ventura, California that weekend is what really did it for me. I felt like I was part of a family, and I had never met these people before! You could talk to anyone and they were all so open, genuine, and interested in one another. We hit the roommate jackpot with Faye from Good to Goat and Max from Buttercup Co.. Plus, I got to take a class with and meet one of my paper-craft-idols, Amy Tan (and made it into her Craftcation video on YouTube, just sayin' #fangirlingsohard). Last, it may have taken me 4 months, but I finally figured out my guiding word for the year on this trip. (Hear more more about Ali Edwards "one little word" project here, or get more info on her website).  I'm looking forward to going back every year just to feel this good good energy again - an overall amazing time and place to have had the opportunity to be part of.

Next, I went to the Caribbean followed by a couple days in Miami with my family. We did a cruise aboard the Carnival Sensation to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Grand Turk. It was all of our first time going on a cruise and all in all we had a good time, but if you ever see me in person and want to hear more of the unfortunate/funny/random details, just ask! We collectively decided that we will probably never do a cruise vacation again though. Some highlights were Eden getting offered an entertainment job aboard a cruise ship, parasailing, dancing every single night at Kaleidoscope (the night club on the ship), going on the behind the scenes tour of the ship, and generally just getting to spend quality time together. The Wiz's always manage to have fun when we vaycay! 

After we disembarked (yes, I also know a lot of water-jargon now, lol) we spent a few days in Miami. Between our AirBNB cancelling on us two hours before check-in, and a bad henna experience we again managed to find and focus on the good parts of the trip here too! Wynwood was an absolute dream, we got to see some real characters in South Beach, and drank THE BEST mojitos I've ever tasted (I highly recommend the tamarindo)! 

A realization after this trip was that I really do enjoy traveling. I've always been down to travel as long as someone else is making the plans and I just have to show up. But after these trips, although stressful at points, I felt so refreshed, so happy, and ready to tackle my crazy list of to do's. I would say I definitely learned the value of taking time off, which is something I would have never even considered up until this point in my life. I would like to make an effort to travel more, even just domestically. International travel still seems a bit scary and daunting to me, so starting here in the states seems like a good idea. Next booked trip is Ferndale, Michigan for DIY Street Fair and some scouting

My final adventure was opening Half Mile Handmade 2.0 inside of City Market in Bay City, Michigan. We were lucky to be approached to have a space within the market back in November (I want to say)... but there wasn't a whole lot of work that could be done until the space was ready for all of us vendors. Most of the work fell between April/May when I had all of these trips going on. City Market requires that all goods in our booth there be made in Michigan and related to the kitchen/gardening somehow. This meant that I spent WEEKS looking for new vendors for the new space. Luckily, I was able to work with a number of people that already sell with us, but with the new 'stipulations' from the market meant I had to find some new and unique stuff, which thankfully I've been pretty successful with. Sourcing for new vendors is incredibly time consuming. The search, the initial contact, the follow ups, the answering questions... it all takes a good chunk of time. I love every part of this, but the 'on boarding' process for one new person can literally take hours of time cumulatively. Magically, it all came together (with lots of help from my dad). Within a matter of three weeks the 43 square foot space was up, running, stocked to the brim and has been so so so good to me, Bay City, and our vendors for this first month. I am very grateful to be part of City Market! 

During the day I'm doing all things Half Mile Handmade, and at night I bartend to pay the bills. As this will more than likely be my last year in Columbus, I have also been on a quest to experience as much as I can with the time that I have left in this amazing city. So when I'm not 'working' I've been trying my best to sprinkle in fun when I can. I've been attending Phlex Fitness classes at least once a week, I've been trying to go to a new bar/restaurant once a week, and have been getting things "on the books" for the fall like concerts and setting aside time to spend with my friends who mean so much to me. Having these experiences and memories fills me up and I'm determined to make more time for them even if it means business has to fall by the wayside.

As you can see, making time for creating has become quite impossible for me. I have been struggling to keep up with the consignment shops I sell with, and they take priority so creating new items for my website is not looking like it will happen anytime soon. And again, THAT'S OKAY! Permission guys, it's suuuch a beautiful word. I really do adore creating and cherish every moment that I get to spend in my craft room making something with my own two hands. It may not always be something for Craftinista Girl, but I really do always have some kind of work in progress and I try step back and appreciate all of the things that I am lucky to be involved in and making things for on the daily. I'm still here, and don't have plans to disappear completely anytime soon (although looking at my social media you might think otherwise, lol). I love custom work, and am happy to arrange to ship you anything I post on social media that maybe hasn't made it's way in to the shop yet. You can also get your Craftinista Girl fix at one of my stockists near you! 

One Little Word

I first heard of the One Little Word Project with Ali Edwards in 2014 on the Elise Gets Crafty Podcast. (Listen to the specific episode, here). Since that time, I've always thought it would be neat to have a guiding word for the year but have never been able to nail one down for myself. On the podcast, Elise and Ali have talked about how it can be difficult to choose a word and how sometimes it might take a while to pick the appropriate one. Heck, they even said some people have changed it half way though the year! So for the past two years, I've tried and tried to come up with this guiding word but nothing seemed to stick or feel quite right.

This year in April/May, it hit me out of the blue and it was so clear that I couldn't deny it - PERMISSION. I love it so much that I might just make it my guiding word forever, for real! (Next tattoo?!) For those who don't know, all I've ever known is to hustle! When I was in my teens I absolutely hated living at home. Mostly because of all the rules, I just wanted to do my thang! I managed to move out at 17/18 (I can't remember exactly), and have never went back. I feel very fortunate to have done a number of jobs in many different places around the midwest, but would say I hustled hardest during my time in graduate school. I was getting a Masters degree in Business and working four jobs at the same time. I loved it. I enjoyed doing all the things all the time. I'm not sure why, but being busy has always felt very comforting to me.

Today, I have this little handmade biz that I run from home, own two physical stores, and bartend, those are my jobs. This may very well be the fewest endeavors I've had going at one time, but I've been feeling more burnt out than ever before. I'm very hard on myself, and always have been. I somehow think I'm capable of doing everything and have the most difficult time delegating any sort of responsibility to others'. I've felt this intense pressure to always be doing something regarding work or working at at all times, but it has really intensified during the past year. I've stayed up for over 24 hours trying to complete to-do lists, I bring crafts in the car with me to work on, I'm editing photos and planning social media at night when I attempt to sit down to Netflix and chill, it's very hard for me to relax without these thoughts in my head of "I could be doing this or that."

One topic that came up over and over at Craftcation earlier this year was being the boss. When you're a creative small business owner, often times it's just you. You're all of the jobs up to and including the boss. Of all the times I've heard "you have to work on your business not in your business," it just never dawned on me that I AM actually the boss! Yes, this means that all of the work ultimately falls on me, but it also means that I can say no to things and I can make a schedule for myself and take time off like a normal boss would and should.

This is where the idea of permission as my one little word came from for me. It's an ongoing process, but I've already given myself permission to do or not do a number of things and I already feel less stress in my life because of it. For example, Monday's are my designated day off, both of my stores are closed and I don't bartend on Monday's so it's really truly a day off in every sense for me. Historically, I've used this 'day off' to run errands, do household chores, catch up on emails etc. I recently realized that I get a lot of joy from exploring new places, and in an effort to give myself a little bit of fuel each week, I use Monday evenings to see or do something new and it has been fabulous! Yes, I still spend the majority of the day doing work, but just giving myself those couple of hours at night has done wonders!

Go forth and give yourself permission! Do you have one little word for the year? What is it? How has it been going for you? Let's talk about it in the comments!

Submitting A Warranty With Fiskars

Ever since I can remember Fiskars have been part of my 'craft-life.' As a young girl, I can recall my mom using them too. Has anyone experienced the wrath followed by using the scissors on something they weren't meant for?! Yep, I may have heard that rant a time or two from my mom growing up (as an adult, I TOTALLY GET IT though). I use Fiskars brand everything in my craft room. I even upped my scissor game purchasing a $40 pair of scissors shortly after starting my work with tshirts. I was having pain/issues with my elbow from cutting through multiple layers of knit material at a time and getting a better quality pair of scissors cleared up all of my problems almost immediately; highly recommend!

My first rotary blade and cutting mat was Fiskars brand as well, a gift from my grandmother when I first started sewing in high school. I used that set for the longest time and still have it in a closet somewhere, but as I started doing larger projects I just needed something more massive. I purchased a large mat from JoAnn a couple of years ago, and in that short time managed to make some pretty deep cuts in what I thought was a 'self curing' mat. It started effecting the accuracy and shape of my cuts and I had no other choice but to get a new one. I waited and waited and waited for a 60% coupon from JoAnn to get it at a reasonable price and finally took the plunge about a month ago.

A couple of weeks ago on my Instagram story, I shared my inaugural cut using my new Fiskars cutting board. When I was removing the sticker from the board, I noticed that it said "Lifetime Warranty" and thought, hm, I should probably see what that's all about and proceeded to Google "Fiskars Warranty" which took me right here. WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE GOOGLE?! I filled out the form to the best of my knowledge and immediately received a message saying they had received my request. Three days after that I got another email that my replacement was being shipped, and five days after that the mat arrived at my door. No questions asked, WOW! 

I seriously can't believe how simple and quick the entire process was, it makes me love Fiskars even more. Have you ever went through the warranty process with any of your craft supplies? I'd love to hear about it at hello@craftinistagirl.com. THANKS FISKARS!

February Income Report

Another month another income report! You'll notice right away that this months numbers are far less than last months. The good news is that it's just a phase. After 10 years of working in retail, I've grown used to the fact that January and February are simply slower sales months and that's all there is to it.

INCOME
SHOP 1: $13.20
SHOP 2: $9
SHOP 3: $17.40
SHOP 4: $7.20
SHOP 5: ? (I have not received payout from this stockist yet)*
*HALF MILE HANDMADE: $50
LYRIC PEDDLER: $17.50
WEBSITE SALES: $0
TOTAL INCOME: $64.30

EXPENSES
I'm still trying my hardest to work with what I have on hand and only go out to purchase items I legitimately need. Last month was tough with Presidents Day being thrown in there. Craft stores have the best sales for this holiday for some reason, so I went a little overboard buying some fabric and things I didn't exactly NEED, but it will all get put to use in good time. I also had to purchase interfacing which I do by the bolt and is a big chunk of money at one time. 

OPERATING EXPENSES: $20
SUPPLIES: $250.12
POSTAGE: $13.07
TOTAL EXPENSES: $283.19

TOTAL INCOME -$218.89


REFLECTIONS
According to the numbers, February isn't looking like such a hot month for Craftinista Girl. A handful of good things to report though. I put my products in two new stores in the month of February; Piccadilly and Craft Handmade. I also pushed myself to get more items listed in the shop, which was actually less horrible than I've been thinking it would be. It's still not something I'm passionate about so I don't see myself making any real progress there, but I don't feel as intimidated by the process now that I've listed some things. I'm also struggling to find a way to promote sales on my website. How do I get people to the site? Do I need to run sales? Do I need to be more 'in your face' about the fact that I have things for sale? I'm just not sure how to create that sales funnel.

With regards to social media I have tried to be more conscience about posting regularly. Last month, I mentioned trying to post 20 days a month. I did 18 posts on Instagram in February, and even fewer on Facebook. I'm not sure why, but I just prefer Instagram to Facebook and I always forget to post on my Facebook page after I've posted on Instagram. I'm also trying to use the Insta-stories feature more. I love the feature but I haven't quite figured out what people like to see on there, so I'm playing with it.

I expect next months report to be similar to this one in terms of income and expenses. I'll be ramping up production for the busier months ahead so I think I will need to spend a bit on supplies, and since any income from consignment I get will be for sales in the month of February, I don't expect it to be too high. Talk to you all next month! 

Stay Creative,
Capri

Self Care + Working From Home

Earlier today, my step-mom sent, "FYI 89 days until cruising" (referring to our family-cruise-vacation in May) in our family group text and it totally blindsided me. We have known about this cruise for a while and since mid-January I have been making a conscious effort to 'get in shape' for this cruise. But when she said 89 days, I kinda sorta panicked!

Growing up, "being active" was non-existent in my routine. I was a gymnast, a dancer, and a cheerleader at different times in life, but going to the gym and eating healthy just weren't things that myself or anyone in my family really did or talked about. As an adult, I have always struggled with how to be in shape and stay active. I go to the gym and have a panic attack at the sight of machines. I Google things like "healthy meal plan" and get overwhelmed by the options. This whole fitness thing just doesn't feel like it's for me, but I want so desperately to be part of it. 

If you've ever seen me in real life, you're probably thinking "why in the world is this skinny girl over here trying to talk about fitness, she's already in shape!?" I do get that a lot. I am generally happy with my body too, in all honesty. What I can say is, I know that leading a more active lifestyle genuinely makes me feel better throughout the day. Somewhere along the way in the whirlwind that was 2016, I fell off. I stopped running, I ate all the worst things, and had ZERO activity in my life. (In my defense, I did have a weird/painful issue with me Achilles for a minute) but excuses aside, I was completely inactive.

Knowledge of this cruise has obviously been a motivation with getting my act back together. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to travel, especially with my family! Looks aside, we are all going to have an AMAZING time, but I'm also feeling more AMAZING myself day in and day out. Working from home, while it has it's perks, is also a huge burden. How can I justify going for a run when there are piles of things to be finished, and plenty of 'to do's' to be crossed off? Am I the only guilt-filled person on earth that gets a little sick when neglecting the things that NEED TO BE DONE? I am the only person who can get these things done, and if you work for yourself, you know how valuable even one hour of time can be. So, workout or work-in is the question I'm constantly asking myself.

Getting to my point of this whole post... I wanted to share with you how I'm managing to be semi-active and still maintaining and addressing my workload with three simple things.

1) NIKE FUELBAND: This thing is basically my accountability partner. The Fuelband takes your activity and converts it into "fuel points." They say the average person should be getting about 2,000 points/day, a moderately active person gets around 3,000 points/day, and an athlete about 5,000 points/day. I told you how overwhelmed I get with the gym and tracking calories or tracking anything for that matter - this makes my life EASY. More points = I was more active that day, I can comprehend that. I have my daily goal set at 3,000 points - on days that I craft at home, get a small workout in, and bartend, I easily log upwards of 3,500 points. If it's close to midnight and I haven't reached my point goal, you will literally find me doing jumping jacks beside my bed! An extra bonus, if other people you know have the Fuelband you can add them as a friend and compete to see who gets the most points daily.

2) STARBUCKS TUMBLER/Infused Water: I've got a confession, I hate water! Hate it. Don't want to drink it, EVER. But, I know I need to and the only way it happens with me is 1) if it's beyond cold and 2) if it's flavored. Due to this, I need a very large cup since I fill it to the brim with ice cubes and fresh fruit, making it, ya know, like 1/4 actually full of water, lol. I love that this particular cup is LARGE and GLASS, meaning I can't melt it in the dishwasher (been there, done that). My favorite infused blend is mint leaves, lemon, and strawberry, yummm! I also love the fact that this glass is see through. Call me conceded, but nothing beats when people ask what you're drinking and you get to "brag" about it being infused water and how you're oh-so-healthy! Always gives me a boost of confidence and a reason to gulp the whole thing down and fill it up again! 

3) CARDIO: Since I don't mess with any of those crazy machines or weights at the gym cardio is kinda my only option. And don't get me wrong, I LOVE CARDIO, but there's a little piece of me that wishes I could lift something of significance. Recently, I took up Phlex Fitness with my gal-pal Jessica. We get so sweaty, and have so much fun! Rap songs are my fave, so you know I'm getting hyphy in there! I also love Zumba with Beatz Fitness, although I've only ever went once in Columbus with Chelsea. Note to self, get back to Zumba. If you're local to Columbus and ever want to go to either, holler at your girl! I also love running, so anytime I have a chance to get a 5K in on the treadmill or outside that's my "go to" workout. If I'm super strapped for time, I will just throw T-25 on the TV and knock it out quick. All of the videos require ZERO equipment and make me feel like I'm doing more than just some easy-breezy-cardio-workout.

As I mentioned in my January Income Report, I'm trying to "roll with the punches" and not be so hard on myself about completing every single task. I'm not going overboard with this quest for fitness, simply trying to be active within my personal means. Right now, I am working out at least three days a week and I feel pretty accomplished with that. I wish it were more, but I'm doing what I can with the time that I have. What are some of your fitness tips? I'd love to hear more about how you work from home and stay fit at the same time!

January Income Report

Did January just completely fly by for anyone else?! Seriously, where did the entire month go?! UGH. The first thing that I am sad to report, is that the Lou & Bear income report that I had referenced in my last post has vanished! I went to click the link and get some inspiration on how to go about this and it was gone. You guys will have to bare with me as I figure out the best way to do this over the next few months. Please send suggestions if you have them! 

INCOME
You're obviously here for the juicy stuff, right? I figure the best thing is to just dive directly into the money and then do my little 'self-evaluation' after this portion. Out of respect for my consignment accounts and other makers, I have decided not to specifically reference the name of each shop in these income reports, but rather refer to them as "Shop 1," "Shop 2," and so on. The exception to this is my shop, Half Mile Handmade. I am putting a star next to this one because rather than the typical 60/40 split, I keep 100% of anything that I sell there, and then put that right back into the business. I don't actually write myself a check for my monthly sales like I do with all the other vendors. I will also not be including this amount in my total sales, however, I did want to actively track my monthly sales at Half Mile Handmade for comparison purposes.

SHOP 1: $7.20
SHOP 2: $24
SHOP 3: $120.60
SHOP 4: $105
SHOP 5: $90.20
*HALF MILE HANDMADE: $128
LYRIC PEDDLER: $0
WEBSITE SALES: $0
TOTAL SALES: $347

EXPENSES
One thing that I am trying to focus on HARD this year is using what I have. You would not believe how many tshirts I have in my stash at home! This doesn't mean I'm skipping VOA day with Kelly or stopping myself from buying supplies that I legitimately need. But, I do hope to blow through shirts faster than I have in the past. It seems as if they have been accumulating and I don't have time to make even the smallest dent in the stacks of them in my garage. Therefore, I expect this section to be pretty short and sweet - hold me to it! In January, I totally splurged on pillow forms for the tshirt pillows I' recently started making (to the tune of about $80), so that's not something I expect to have to pay for month-to-month.

OPERATING EXPENSES: $20
SUPPLIES: $156.13
TOTAL EXPENSES: $176.13

TOTAL INCOME $170.87


REFLECTIONS
The good news is I can pay a couple of bills (hooray)! Looking at it from the perspective of 'starting over' I'm pretty proud! For someone that does this mainly as a hobby, making $170 bucks in a month could actually be really thrilling! The bad news is, I have SUCH A LONG WAY to go. I'm over here trying to DO THIS, make this my job, and paying one bill a month is not going to cut it, realistically speaking.

SO, WHAT NOW?


For me personally, I think the sensible next step is simply to get into better routines and practices so that I can ultimately make more! Right now, I spend a good chunk of each day working on stuff pertaining to Half Mile Handmade, and then I might have a couple hours for Craftinista Girl stuff, and then I'm off to bartend for the night. Don't get me wrong, I love my schedule and having multiple things to work on at any given moment, but there has to be a way to give more dedicated time to my handmade business.
 
I'll be honest, listing things on my website does not fill me up and I've been avoiding it like the plague. Therefore, I know a current goal of mine should not be to get more website sales, I mean there's barely anything there to choose from, and I'm honestly not passionate about it at the moment. The thing that seems the most within reach for me at this point is consignment. I'm fired up about adding more stockists to my list, and this 'quiet' time of the year seems like the best time to go after that. I also want and need to do better with social media. I only made 12 posts on Instagram in the month of January, and even less on Facebook - bad girl!

In the past, I've been really hard on myself about goal setting and squeezing every single thing in, but these days I'm much more focused on the realities of it all. I know you've heard it before, "you can only do what you can do." So, if I can get a couple new stockists here and there, and post 20 days out of the month on social media, I think I will be really pleased with myself. Looking forward to another month of the handmade-life, thanks for joining me on this wild ride! Until next month...

Stay Creative,
Capri

The (RE)Beginning

TBH, I've been at a total standstill with my handmade business since October 2016 when Etsy shut down my shop. (Another whole separate post on that coming soon...) Since then I have been going back and forth with myself about what to do and how to proceed with things for Craftinista Girl. Rather than focus on that right away though, I decided to put all of my effort into making our first holiday season at Half Mile Handmade the best it could be, and I think that was definitely the right choice for me - it was AWESOME! 

In my time debating about how to move forward part of me thought, 'hey, I have this opportunity for a clean slate, I should really make my brand as professional as possible,' by doing things like getting a branding specialist, looking into how to take better photos, and even thought of hiring my own web designer/developer. However, in the spirit of handmade I have ultimately decided to do it DIY in true Capri style (also, all of that requires money which I don't exactly have a ton of right now) lol. The catch is I want to share my entire journey with you!

Two things played a big role in this decision. One, my 2016 Best Nine photo for Craftinista Girl. I was so surprised to see that almost half of the photos everyone liked best in 2016 were ones of ME, not my products. Either you all like seeing my pretty face, or the more personal posts resonated more with my audience (...and I'm going with the latter). I also love that two of the posts were those in which I collaborated with other makers <3 Having an academic background in business has certainly shaped the way that I've determined what and how to post on social media. I realize now that with the type of business I have that I am completely free to be myself and share more than just 'buy this' type posts. Of course, you're still going to see those, but I'm really looking forward to sharing more of myself and my knowledge with all of you. I love the love that is shared among the handmade community, and I know I have a bunch of cheerleaders out there rooting for me. I CAN DO THIS! 

The second thing was an email that I received from Andi at Lou & Bear disclosing her Income Report. I have been intrigued by the idea of sharing an Income Report since I heard about Pinch of Yum doing this on the Elise Gets Crafty Podcast. If you click through and peek at any of Pinch of Yum's Income Report, it's AMAZING! By amazing I mean very detailed, comprehensive, and the numbers are BIG! ...Intimidating for someone that is lucky to make 1 sale a week with their handmade business. Additionally, I'm not a blogger so trying to relate to many of their expenses is kind of difficult for me. So, back to Andi - her first Income Report was PERFECT, it spoke to me. I understood everything that she talked about, and the numbers were impressive yet realistic and you can't help but eat up the transparency in all of it. Again, I thought I CAN DO THIS! 

I emailed with Ashley from Papyrusaurus early on in the Etsy-just-shut-me-down-stages as she had some of her own things go down with Etsy and she was kind and wonderful enough to give me some advice and encouraging words about making your own website - so with all of that, here I am, MY VERY OWN WEBSITE! It may not be as professional as I've dreamed of it being, I may not sell a single thing ever, but I have a small space on the Internet to call my own and do whatever my heart desires with! I have my clean slate, and in some ways, I am starting from the bottom and that's okay. I'm looking at this as an opportunity to change, do better, be more consistent, and be accountable. I am looking forward to sharing, growing, and connecting with all of you.

My girl, Chelsea, from Glitteracy once said "I'm am open book, ask me ANYTHING," and I thought YES, I love that, I want to be an open book too! I always say this, but seriously, from the bottom of my handmade-loving-heart thank you. You, yes you, reading this, thank you. You are truly the reason I get to do what I love and love what I do.

Copy Cat: Men's Skinny Tie

Every once in a while a friend or customer will ask me if I can make something that isn’t in my current product offering. There are plenty of new projects that I want to try all the time, but sometimes people simply asking gives me that extra push to get me started on something new.  I sincerely enjoy taking on challenges and trying new projects – I just can’t always find the time to fit them in right away. In April, a long-time friend of mine asked if I did adult items, to which I responded, ‘no, I haven’t advanced to adult-sized-sewing, yet.’ He replied that he was interested in having some custom ties made and I figured that was something I could actually handle. My first step, was of course to see if there were any patterns/tutorials available online for free. Luckily, in this day and age, if you look hard enough you can find anything on the Internet. I was able to locate not one, but two patterns (with tutorials, bonus!) pretty quickly. My friend let me know that he would be most interested in the skinny tie – so that’s the version I went with. He also gave me ‘creative freedom’ in picking the patterns and colors for the ties.

I went to my favorite local specialty fabric store and with the help of the owner picked out some awesome prints! The quality of material at a specialty store is far better than most of what you’d get a JoAnn, but you do pay a premium for it. Since I was making ties, I knew they had to be a soft material and I wanted them to look like a nicer quality as well.  Plus when you only need half a yard the price tag doesn’t hurt quite as much. Another thing worth noting is to pay attention to the way that the pattern is laid out. I had bought half a yard of fabric with cassette tapes on it to use for these but when I went to cut it I realized that the cassettes would have been running up and down rather than left to right. Had I got an entire yard of fabric, this could have been remedied. For the fusible interfacing I used Pellon 906F, and basic muslin for the back lining material.

After quickly looking over the tutorial, I thought to myself, ‘I've got this,’ and went straight to work cutting out all of the pieces I needed to make four total ties.  After completing all four, I had my boyfriend tie one to see how it looked and discovered that the tie was more of a boys’ size, not an adult male size. I’m wondering if this was perhaps a sizing issue that occurred when printing the pattern. Sometimes when you print a pattern from online, it has a test square that you can measure to make sure that our pattern printed to scale. This pattern did not have that feature, so I think I just assumed that whatever printed was correct. You can see in the photos below that from the front they both looked the same, but from the back the one on the right was significantly shorter. Needless to say, I had to start over on all four of the ties :( super bummed! 

Lesson learned, always try a sample of a new project before going all out on it! The second time around, I used one of my boyfriend’s ties to make sure I had the length that I needed. I ended up adding 2” to the “fat” side of the tie and about 7” to the “skinny” side.

Once all of the sizing issues were resolved – this project was a breeze! Even a sewing novice could tackle this one. What I loved most about making these ties is that all of your ‘flaws’ get hidden by the time you have completed your tie. For example, I had some wrinkles in the fabric on the back of the ties that I just couldn’t get out – but you don’t see that part when it’s all done!

The hand sewing portion of the ties was the ‘worst’ part in my opinion, but that’s just because I avoid sewing anything by hand at all costs, hashtag lazy :) Then I (of course) had to make a tie with a t-shirt, because you know t-shirts are my thing – and it turned out fantastic!

This is the perfect addition to the wardrobe of any dapper fella! I could also see this becoming some sort of Father’s Day tradition, where you can make dad a different tie every year. If you decide to take on this project, let me know! I would love to see photos of your completed project. Thanks again to See Kate Sew for the awesome pattern and tutorial!

P.S. I made another t-shirt tie featuring Corona beer that I’m giving away in the 614 Handmade Giveaway on June 6th. Follow along on Instagram now for some great takeovers before the giveaway begins!

P.P.S. If dad isn't into ties and you still want to DIY something check out these ideas from Brit + CO!

Recycled T-Shirt Blanket

This is something that has been on my "to-make" list for the longest time. Even though I've been sewing for years I'm always really hesitant to try new projects. I've also been working heavily with t-shirts for the past three years, but knit fabric still scares me a little. I guess what I'm trying to say is I've totally been avoiding this project...the good news is it was super simple and turned out great! You can Google "t-shirt blanket DIY" and get a million results, so I figured I'd just add mine to the mix! My approach to the blanket was a lot more simple than most. I honestly wanted to make it the least amount of 'work' possible, #lazymuch? LOL. There are ways that you can make your blanket more durable and fancy, but if you just want to get 'er done then this might be the perfect tutorial for you!

Supplies

  • T-shirts (as many or little as you want). For my project I used both the front and back of the shirts because I didn't have enough shirts with graphics on them to fill the whole space.
  • 1 1/2 yards of sweatshirt fleece for the back of your blanket. I used charcoal grey - $12.99/yard*
  • 4 yards of fusible interfacing for the backs of the t-shirts. I used Pellon 906F - $2.99/yard*
  • Thread. I used basic white Coats & Clark - $2.99/spool*
  • I would highly recommend a rotary blade and cutting mat*, it will make this project easier! An alternative would be cutting the square template from cardboard and tracing it on to your shirts then cutting by hand.

*You can get these items at 40% off or more by using your JoAnn's app for coupons, signing up for their emails and text messages, and opting to receive their newsletter in the mail.

Now, let's get to putting this blanket together! 

Step 1

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Lay out your sweatshirt fleece and start cutting up your t-shirts. My yard and a half of sweatshirt fleece measured about 55" x 60" so I decided to do my t-shirts in 25 11 x 11" squares. (Jahjeh assists me with all of my projects, obviously). 

Step 2

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Cut 25 11 x 11" squares of interfacing and fuse them to the back of the t-shirt squares you had cut. The bolt of interfacing that I got was only 20" tall so I was just short of getting 2 squares out of the height of it. The second photo here shows that for some of the squares I would use 10" and then cut a couple of 2" strips to cover the remaining area. You don't have to do this, but you will end up with a lot of extra interfacing if you don't.

Step 3

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Sew rows of your t-shirts together - hopefully you can see the gap in between the rows here. Remember to put the t-shirts right sides together when you are sewing! I used 1/4" seam throughout this project.

Step 4

Now sew each row to the one below it. I pretty much only pinned each row together at the points where the seams met. To be honest, most of my seams didn't match up, which I was okay with. If you are a perfectionist you may have to go back through and make some adjustments.

Step 5

Now that the entire front of the blanket is together, flip it over so the right sides of the blanket and sweatshirt fleece are touching. Pin in place all around the edges and sew. Remember to leave an opening somewhere so you can turn the blanket inside out. I left my opening at the bottom of the blanket in the middle. (Bottom row grey shirt in this photo).

It's hard to see, but I did stitch around the corners twice for a little extra strength. Clip the corners before turning your blanket so they aren't bulky.

Step 6

Turn your blanket right side out, press, and topstitch.

…& you're done!

See, this project wasn't all that bad! Hopefully you guys failed to notice the progression of my craft room getting messier and messier, haha. I would love to answer questions or see your handmade t-shirt blankets send it all to hello@craftinistagirl.com.

Instagram Takeovers

Ever since I've moved to Ohio "Instagram takeovers" have been, well, taking over! Everyday it seems that someone I follow is taking over this account or that account. There are even accounts like @livecolumbus that are made with the purpose of having someone different run them everyday. Live Columbus specifically aims to showcase a-day-in-the-life of local business owners or individuals, it's actually very neat! Have I been missing out on this phenomenon or is it just a Columbus thing? After extensive Google research, I found that these actually happen all the time all over the place. I, of course, had to see what all the fuss was about for myself. I was hesitant at first because I don't even have a rhyme or reason to posting to my own Instagram account - how was I going to run an account for someone that was counting on me to actually deliver content? It turns out that there are many articles out there like the one I am about to write. However, I didn't even think to look them up prior to running the accounts that I did, which probably would have been really helpful, because honestly, I was nervous!

First off, I did create my most of my content in advance. I have seen plenty of takeovers where it was clear that the person taking over got halfway through their day and realized 'oh sh*t, I was supposed to be running such-and-such account today.' You don't want to come off this way to the organization that is letting you take over or the audience. In my case, I took over an account for a craft show where I would be vending - I wanted to be taken seriously but easy-going and fun at the same time. Plus, I wanted to do a good job in hopes that it would better my chance to come back in following years! I even purposely selected a day that I knew I could plan this takeover around. I selected a day when I knew I would be creating as well as getting out of the house a little.

Next, I thought about my goals and the goals of the organization in doing this takeover. We are all looking to grow our audience, right? There were three main goals that I wanted to accomplish with my take over:

1) Grow the @craftinoutlaws following
2) Grow my account following
3) Get the current followers of Craftin' Outlaws excited about the show

With this in mind I began creating content. I had a 12 hour window to post to the account and I decided that I wanted to do at least one post per hour. One of these would obviously be some sort of introductory post and another would be a sign-off of sorts. That gave me 10 posts that I needed to come up with to fill the remaining hours. I thought that I would make my introductory post one that was interactive so I could get a feel for the audience, but that didn't turn out so well (which I will discuss a little later). For everything in between I tried my best to show behind the scenes and as many product photos as I could. I also tried to poll the audience about what types of things they'd like me to bring to the show (which also did not turn out as well as I had hoped). To be honest, coming up with everything in the middle was really simple.

In this preparation I typed up all of my post captions complete with hashtags in the notes on my iPhone. You can not create line breaks when you are typing on the Instagram app, so the main reason I did this was to have those line breaks and make everything easier to read because I had a lot to say! It was also nice on the day of because I set an hourly reminder on my phone to make a post and then I just copied and pasted and it took all of 5 seconds to make the post and move on with my day. In addition to the planned posts, I did post a couple extra things here and there as I was going about my day.

All in all, I did a total of 15 posts while running the Craftin' Outlaws account. The immediate (and by immediate I mean at the end of my takeover) results were:

197 Total Likes
2 New Followers for Craftin' Outlaws
8 New Followers for Myself

I did follow-up on my posts for about a week or so after my takeover was done with and noticed that I would get more likes on the photos I posted as the days went by. I also gained more followers on my personal account that I recognized from the takeover. Just know that the results don't end when your takeover ends - it definitely keeps going! 

As a whole I was very satisfied with how the whole thing went and I was glad that I had done the work in advance to make it the best takeover that I could. If I could go back and do it again, the only thing I would change is getting a better feel for my audience. I mentioned earlier, my more interactive posts did not get the response that I had hoped. As I was thinking about this, I remembered that a lot of creatives and show attendees are introverts. Which is totally perfect and fine, but would explain why no one responded when I posed a question - Duhhh! Also with regard to knowing your audience, I would highly recommend signing up for Iconosquare for anyone. For those out there that allow individuals to takeover your account this might be insightful information to pass along to them when giving instructions for the takeover. You can really nerd out on marketing with the statistics Iconosquare provides. There's a report that tells you what Instagram filter gets you the most interaction, I'm not kidding.

Since my takeover with Craftin Outlaws, I also had the pleasure of running HandMAKE My Day Cbus for two days. Now that I feel comfortable with what I'm doing I will be volunteering for all of the takeovers I can! Now, enjoy this "sign off" photo of Jahjeh and I in the craft room! :D