Cinderella Tutu

Cinderella Tutu

Friday, March 1, 2013

If Michael's Was my Boyfriend, Our FB Status Would Be "It's Complicated!"

An alternative title to this post would be, "Why I Love and Hate Michael's."  Let me count the ways. . . .

I love Michael's because it's usually open.
Unlike my actual favorite craft store, Hobby Lobby, Michael's is open the majority of the time that I would actually need to go to the store.  Hob Lob is open on Tuesdays from 2:25 until 4:20 and on Thursday mornings from 9:15 until 10:26 or something like that.  It's like the owners of Hob Lob thought, "When is it that people like to shop? Let's not be open then!" Michael's on the other hand is open at times real people need stuff.  Of course, there have been times when I really needed a craft store at 2:00 AM but that's kinda my problem, not the stores'.
I hate Michael's because if an item is not on sale, it's probably way over priced.
I could give a ton of examples of stuff I would never buy at Michael's because the small print essentially says, "Your first born child due at checkout," but the example that literally makes me queasy every time I see it is the tulle.  (Surprised? I look at tulle while shopping!?!) The prices you will pay for a bolt of tulle at Michael's are over three times what I pay from my supplier.  A 25 yard roll will cost you more than what I pay for a 100 yard roll and the 100 yard roll costs about what I pay for a bolt.  Why is it so stinkin' expensive?  I've used tulle from Michael's. It's not a higher quality tulle than what I get from my supplier. Is it made from the hair of fairies?  Is it found in the lining of dragon eggs? I really don't get it. If I could buy tulle from my supplier and sell it at the prices Michael's gets away with, I'd be filthy stinkin' rich.
Before you pay this $ for tulle--call me!

Seriously, it's physically painful to see this!

Maybe this is why so many people sell their tutus for three times more than I do!

I love Michael's clearance items.
When you can find a good deal on something at Michael's, it's like finding a four leaf clover--made of chocolate. (Which I can only imagine would be pretty darn tasty!)  For example, I found these little sparkly, plastic decorative items this evening in the scrapbooking aisle (see pic below).  I wouldn't normally be looking in that aisle because I haven't scrapbooked in years but I wandered through and saw them.  They are perfect for hair accessories and they were only 79 cents per package.  I thought that was a great deal so I bought a whole bunch.  They are going to look super cute attached to some little girl's piggy tails via various ribbons and tulle!
This is one of my favorites. Check out the penguin!

My entire stash!

My little ballerina is so getting some new hair clips!

I hate Michael's new coupon/email policy.
Now, you have to give the cashier your email address every time you check out so that they can personalize your coupons. They don't have a card anymore. Why they don't at least use your card so that they can easily read your email address is beyond me.  We all have to stand there and recite ridiculous email addresses in front of lines of people.  My email address isn't that bad, but I feel sorry for  I mean come on, really?  And they never get it right the first 47 times.  It's a stupid policy and they just need to go back to the way it was before.
I love the aisles of inspiration.
Do you have any idea how many dozens  hundreds of craft projects I have started just because I saw something in Michael's? Michael's was Pinterest when Pinterest was just crafting-crack in the back of someone's brain.  Notice I said started and not finished, I'm trying to be honest here.  Still, I like seeing projects and being inspired.  I have actually finished a lot of projects that I embarked on because of Michael's too.
I hate the fact that coupons only work on---well, just about nothing.
If you've ever actually tried to use a coupon at Michael's, I need not explain further. If you've never tried to use a coupon at Michael's, go try it and see for yourself.  Don't bother to attempt to read the small print first because it essentially just says that this coupon isn't really good for anything. Occasionally I will get the 50% off one item coupon that is a total score but for the most part the coupons are not useful.
I love that they carry almost every color and size of t-shirt you can possibly imagine.
When you're in a pinch 'cause your mom/t-shirt supplier can only find pink in an XL and you need a medium, Michael's is your place to go.  Chances are, they've got it.
Michael's probably has the right color and size shirt you need for any project.

I hate the $1 bins.
I hate the $1 bins because I love the $1 bins.  And now there are the $2 bins which are a trick.  You think they are the $1 bins until you have the stuff you must have in your hands and then you realize they are the $2 bins and it's too late. It's in your hand--you bought it.
I love seeing stuff for a lot of money I know I can make much cheaper--and better.
You know the wreaths, floral arrangements, cheap tutus they have during the holidays? Yay, I can make that.  Cheaper.  Mine's better.  Totally awesome for me!
I hate that Michael's is closer than Hob Lob.
I would rather go to Hob Lob but Michael's is closer and they don't change the sign to closed when they see me coming. So, I go there more often.  And also, it's near Target.  Have I mentioned why I love Target? Ahh, that's another post.
What's your favorite craft store and what do you love or hate about it?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Organza Extravaganza!

Today, I finished my first tutu featuring organza!  It's not a complete tutu made of organza, although I am looking forward to trying that soon as well, rather it's a tutu made mostly of tulle with two layers of organza as well.  It's part of the package I will be sending in for the celebrity baby shower I'm participating in so I really wanted it turn out spectacular.  And I think it did!

Pretty in pink--organza!
Perfect for any little ballerina

Organza is thicker than tulle, the weave is much tighter and it's a little more shimmery

This tutu has 6 layers of tulle and 2 layers of organza

It's made of light pink, white, and shimmery white tulle, and shimmery pink organza
What do you think?  I love how soft and shimmery it is!  I think it turned out really well and I'm very excited to have a new material to work with!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celeb Baby Shower

I am currently working on three items for an upcoming celebrity baby shower.  This is the first celebrity event I've worked on so I'm very excited and extremely nervous!  I am hopeful that she will really like the outfits I'm putting together for her sweet baby. There's supposed to be press coverage, which adds another layer of fear and demand for perfection! I took my ragtag crew into Dillard's yesterday afternoon and purchased some Ralph Lauren onesies for this special occasion  And now I feel bad that I'm going to alter them--apparently, based on the price,  they are laced with gold or something.  I don't normally shell out that kind of cash for something children will probably only where once or twice but I thought this occasion warranted it.  I wish I could always offer such high-end brands but  it would make my items a lot more expensive.   Maybe it wasn't necessary for me to buy the high-end onesies for the celeb mom but I want to maximize my impression so I thought it was the way to go.  What do y'all think?  Would you have splurged on the higher-end item or gone with your normal brands?
I was able to finish the first tutu last night and I have the second one about half-way done. The third set is for the press so it will be very similar to the second outfit. I have two weeks to put this all together but I think I think I"m going to try to get it done sooner rather than later and then I'll just wait to hear what she has to say.  Think good thoughts! I hope she loves them as much as I love making them!
For tutu number one I went with pink and brown

8 layers, including 4 layers of shimmer tulle

Soft and full of extra poof!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shhh! It's Top Secret!

You know how I said I wouldn't be giving you a sneak peek of the Spring Line for a couple more weeks? Well, I finished my first one last night and its so fabulous I just couldn't wait! Here's the aqua-butterfly inspired tutu. What do you think? It's 8 layers with shimmer and ribbon and that gorgeous butterfly! I'm so ready for spring. How about you?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Custom Rhinestone Shirts Are a Big Hit!

I had a feeling when I decided to start creating and selling custom rhinestone t-shirts that they would be very popular and so far I haven't been disappointed.  Oh, I haven't been selling so many of them that I can't keep up but I am definitely keeping busy.  I think a lot of people see the freedom being able to create your very own message brings, they know that rhinestones are extremely popular right now, and the value is pretty awesome. So I am getting a lot of messages about pricing and quite a few orders.  It's definitely changed the way I view my shop.  I've always said I make tutus and other little girl's accessories but most of my shirts have been for women and I'm starting to sell about as many of them as I do tutus.  Maybe it's not a tutu shop anymore, maybe it's finally just a boutique. . . .
Making a custom order is pretty time consuming.  I have to make sure I have all of the supplies that I need, including the right color of rhinestones.  If I don't have enough of the right color and size of rhinestones, it can be a big problem because it takes a couple of weeks for the rhinestones to arrive once they've been ordered. I also have to make sure I have the right size t-shirt in the right color.  So far I haven't had to worry about not having enough transfer tape but that's another consideration.
Once I have the order, I enter the design phase.  I want to make sure the shirt is exactly what the customer wants so I ask a lot of questions. I need to know what font the customer likes, what color of stones, what size, how many lines, how thick, if they want a picture or scattered rhinestones, if they want it centered on the shirt--so many things!  I haven't had any problems yet with asking too many questions, most customers don't mind because they want it to be perfect, too.
A template I designed for a customer last weekend. Not sure what it means but it turned out super cute!

Next, I make a template.  I usually make it in Microsoft Paint because it's the easiest to manipulate.  I usually draw up a few versions and send that to the customer.  Once the design is approved, I print it out and turn it into a pattern for the rhinestones.  This can be really tricky if it's a complicated pattern. Once I've laid down all of the rhinestones, I usually send another picture to the customer for his or her approval before I actually apply the rhinestones. Once the customer has approved the rhinestones, actually applying the rhinestones is the easiest part. Then, I package it up and ship it off!  The whole process can take anywhere from 3 hours to 20, depending upon how complicated the design is.  Laying the rhinestones is tedious and difficult.  It's hard to get them all in the exact right place,especially if they are touching or if they are the smaller size rhinestones.  But it's also extremely rewarding. It's like putting a puzzle together or completing a work of art.  I know it's easier for big rhinestone companies to create templates because of the tools they have but I don't think they can get people exactly what they want as quickly as I can.  I also don't think many of them will apply the transfer for you.  With all of the shirts I've done I've only ever had one complaint and that was that the shirt was too small--even though it was the size I said it was when I posted it--and I'm very proud of that because it's a very complicated process and I pour a lot of heart, soul, time, and energy in to it so I want people to absolutely love the completed product.
Before I apply the rhinestones, I get the customer's approval.  Another interesting saying!
Very popular shirt recently
Tis the season for the luck of the Irish!
I'm watching the Daytona 500 as I'm watching this and I think I'm going to have to make myself a bling t-shirt with the number 5 on it. I'm pretty certain that I could sell a few 88's and 10's too.  Danica is the first female to ever start on the pole of the most popular race in motorsports. Pink bling for Ms. Patrick?  I think so!
(And Kasey just wrecked--grrr!)
The possibilities are endless and I can't wait to see what interesting ideas customers bring me. They are always more creative than I am!