Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning Lessons

By-Jenny2

Hi Angel!

I wrote this post last night, thinking we were finally emerging from what we have lovingly dubbed "Barf Fest" around these parts. My poor babies have been sick with a vicious stomach bug for the last 4 days. I have gotten intimately acquainted with my washing machine, as you can imagine. Blech. So done with this yuckiness! The boys seem to feel better this morning (knock on wood) unfortunately, just in time for me to get sick! Noooooo! Cross your fingers that this is short-lived. How are the sanding and painting and packing going on your end? I bet you can't wait to move back into your beautiful "new" house!

The past few weeks have been a bit disheartening business-wise. Opening a shop on Etsy right before the holiday rush last fall, I got sucked into a whirlwind of hand-making, selling, connecting, creating. It was so exciting. And then, of course, things settled down for this new little business and the pace of projects and interest in my work has mellowed out. It is both a blessing and a curse. I miss the excitement but I also welcome the lowered levels of stress. However, I have also encountered some unhappy firsts recently -- challenges and lessons.

I mentioned the other day that my little sheep nursery artwork was never delivered by the post office. It remains a mystery (the USPS website tracked it as delivered but it never made it to its recipient) and it was heartbreaking. I finally finished the re-do, and it is quite close to the original though it was hard to muster the same enthusiasm in the creative process. The irony here of course is that I had not insured the first shipment. Why not? I don't know, But it was a lesson learned the hard way!

Jenny: Sheep Nursery Artwork

And then, there's this new custom order for a Kindle cover, for a lovely lady in Alaska! She selected the modern owl print and the green coordinate. I got it cut, assembled and sewn. It was coming together beautifully and then, as I was top-stitching around the cover -- the very last step! -- the thick layers got stuck in the feed dogs of my sewing machine. The thread got horribly tangled so I had to use the seam ripper then try stitching again a few times. Even though I was careful, this process scratched the fabric at both corners of the front cover! The horror! Obviously, this cover no longer meets my quality standards, so I now have to re-make it for my customer.

Jenny: Owl Cover for Kindle

Jenny: Owl Cover for Kindle

Jenny: Owl Cover for Kindle

I am so annoyed with myself but I'm not sure what else I could have done. I changed the needle on the sewing machine after the layers got stuck, but it didn't change a thing. Perhaps I should have used an even higher number needle...? For the next cover, I am definitely removing the seam allowance from the interfacing to reduce the bulkiness of the layers.

Thank goodness, there have been successes too. Recently, I completed this piece of custom burlap artwork for loyal customer Alli. She requested a piece featuring 2 birds to commemorate her 5th wedding anniversary with her husband, plus a 3rd smaller bird to represent their daughter. I had been wanting to do a birds-on-a-wire design for a while and love how this one came out!! You can read more about it on my website.

Jenny: Custom Burlap Art

And finally, here's a happy first: I'm SO excited about getting to work with gorgeous Marimekko fabric for a custom project. A girlfriend of mine from grad school is back living in New York after several years in Norway. She asked me to create a custom cloth pad for a special antique desk she inherited from her father's best friend, using a red Marimekko print. Here's the one we agreed on:



Isn't it gorgeous?!

Tell me, have you learned lessons the hard way while building a handmade business -- or any business for that matter? I'd love to hear. And how about that Marimekko fabric? Would you be as giddy as I am?

1 comment:

  1. The negatives of hand-made goods: they are one of a kind, each one is a new process to go through, thus the more chances for mishaps. The positives: each one is one of a kind... thus bringing each time fulfillment feelings. And to cheer you up...: you can create with your hands for thirty years, and still make the dumbest mistakes, and also unpredictable ones, due to a moody sewing machine for instance. I messed up soooo many times during my glorious upholstery career, and then my decorator career, it hurts a little to remember right now...

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