Saturday, February 27, 2010

Plastic, plastic, plastic

Plastic water bottles, plastic shopping bags, plastic baggies, and plastic surgery seem to be ubiquitous these days. Of the examples given, plastic surgery has the most longevity, but Pamela Anderson and others find that some features have to be retouched before old age sets in.

What is so silly about much of the plastic we use is its very short lifespan. People cart bottled water to the gym or on a short walk, then pitch the empty container 30 minutes later. I'm not sure when we got away from laughing at the thought of buying bottled water, most of which is common tap water. But, it makes much more sense to use a washable aluminum or plastic bottle. Or fill a glass with cold water from a pitcher with a filter (e.g. Brita).

Typically, the lifespan of a shopping bag is much shorter than that of a water bottle. Customers fill shopping carts with plastic bags full of groceries to make it easier for the one-minute transfer from the shopping cart to the trunk of the car. Then they use the plastic bags another three minutes for lugging the groceries from the car to the kitchen.

Granted, the recyclable grocery bags sold at checkout counters are worthless, unless you live in Europe and/or you are just picking up a loaf of French bread and a couple items from the produce aisle. Those bags also contribute to the detriment of the environment because most of them are made in China and freighted around the world. And, unwanted bags end up in landfills. Substituting cardboard or plastic boxes makes more sense. Plastic milk cartons are ideal, if they are not obtained illegally.

Plastic baggies without a ziploc are such a waste because they are only needed from the time a sandwich or snacks are prepared until they are consumed a few hours later. Reusable baggies are much more environmentally friendly, and fashionable. I make them in two different sizes, starting at $6. My reusable baggies have pull tabs for easy opening and are:
  • Machine washable
  • Dryer safe
  • Polyurethane laminated 100% cotton
  • Lead and Phthalates free

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I am thinking about writing a monthly newsletter, but I wonder if it will be worth it. I already have a Blog and a Twitter account, so coming up with fresh material might be difficult. But, if I get subscribers, then Sew Darn Simple will be top of mind (at least on the newsletter issue date).

Another consideration is the newsletter's design. My husband came up with a one-page template that resembles a purse, but I'm not sure I like it; it is too busy and too purple (if that is possible).

Also, once I have a design I like, what should I include? Monthly tutorials might have some value. And adding events to show readers where I'll be makes sense.
If anyone has any ideas concerning newsletters, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New look and feel

My husband is taking digital design courses online, through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In his current class, he has had to create a new logo, a newspaper ad, a newsletter, and a website layout for a client (real or imagined). His client is Sew Darn Simple.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to create marketing collateral; after all, my time would be better spent in the sewing room. My husband has been promising me a new logo and a newsletter for the past several months. So, his latest class is topical and timely.

To update the logo, he used ragged edges to mimic pinking shears. He also found a handwritten, casual, fun, and free font at Creative products do not conform to all the rules, and GoodDog typeface conveys this.

The picture shows one idea for an improved website home page. The revised logo appears in that picture.

Before too long, I hope he puts his ideas into Dreamweaver and gives my website a new look and feel. Until then, I'll keep dreaming and sewing. (Weaving isn't as much fun.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Putting a dress form to good use

After years of allowing a dress form to occupy space in my sewing room, I decided to use it to display my purses and backpacks. I receive quite a few questions regarding strap length, and pictures display the merchandise how it is to be used. Cropped carefully, the viewer should not be able to distinguish between a dress form and a human model.

The dress form has been around since the 1950s, when my mother used it to make clothes. Now it wears my husband's white undershirt, my violet blouse, and a black skirt.

When I am not using it to display product, I can maneuver it in front of the upstairs bedroom window to give passersby a creepy feeling, as if they are being watched by Norman Bates playing his mother. Or, to keep would-be burglars at bay when we are away from the house, like Macauley Culkin's character in "Home Alone."

Even though I have found a new use for this otherwise obsolete dress form, I would be willing to part with it for the right price.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Art Studio Clearance Sale a Success

If success at a craft show can be a leading economic indicator, 2010 looks promising.
This past weekend at the annual Ohio Designer Art Studio Clearance Sale on the Ohio State Fairgrounds (January 30 and 31), Sew Darn Simple had twice the number of total sales as 2009.

It seems that customers are opening their purses, but not to buy purses. Full-sized purses ($30-$65) and backpacks ($69) are my most expensive items, but I did not sell one full-size purse. Customers preferred the smaller pack purse ($24), as well as accessories such as cell-phone cases, glasses casses, mini zippered wallets, box zipper pouches, tissue covers, lanyards, and Easter baskets. And they practically went gaga over reusable baggies.

There are a lot of variables to consider when participating in a craft show, including advertising, weather, booth placement, presentation, and atmosphere. A client following isn't bad to have, either.

I did talk to a couple vendors who were not pleased with the results. But they both had higher-priced items that decidedly fall into the "want" category: paintings and jewelry.

People may not be opening purses for the big items, but at least they are opening their purses.