1. Bonnie Bag: A simple and sophisticated shape by Swoon Patterns on sale one more day- go get this baby if you sew. I've made three bags this weekend alone... I'm telling you, it's a keeper.

2. Andromeda dress by Sew Straight and Gather.  Only $5 for one more day. This can be made as a top as well, with or without shirring. I think it took me less than an hour. Seriously.

3. Isla peplum top - sewing pattern by Rae Hokestra of course--  in techno knit that makes me look futuristic and spacey. Not the Kevin kind.

4. Stretch leggings in another future-y spandex blend that makes you look like you're painted with rubber or something. Whatever- it's HOT. My own traced pattern.

5. Grainline Studio's Hemlock tee in stretch velvet. Enough said right? Free pattern if you get her newsletter, as if you needed another reason?

6. Christmas Peasant dress in plaid wool blend, because I like pretending I'm of Royal descent, so I force my kids to wear this at Holiday time. You get it, right?  Lots of free peasant dress and top tutorials out there if you want to make one. 

I'm not quite there yet, but I think once it's December I'll be in the Xmas mood.  It always takes me a little bit. Black Friday is like Doomsday for me- I can't understand it. We have internet, (really really) so I enjoyed shopping online in my bathrobe at 6 am before work.  bahahahaha

Anyways, am I the only person who is concerned that two radio stations in Madison play nothing but Holiday tunes? LOL 

I have two quilts pieced and ready to quilt, but I'm waiting to have access to a long arm machine. There are only so many kinked necks a person can tolerate before becoming a psycho b*tch, ya know?

It's also been chillier around here, so don't mind me while I wrap myself up in these chunky knit scarves I was planning on selling --but now am reconsidering. I might wrap one around my head like you do after a shower, and just make it my signature fashion statement.  Yes?

Oh look, aren't they cute. bahahaha

Or like this:

It would totally work. Don't deny it.

Oh- that's my Gemma Tank in Nani Iro double Gauze
Are you jelly yet? 

...because it's Peanut Butter Jelly Time...

Back to serious biz.  Blue Calla is having a sale on her patterns too --one more day.  I'm starting to feel redundant. 

I had some scraps left over so I turned them into dog leashes. Canines need pressies too at the Holidays. My Pug usually chokes on bones and rawhide anything, so I have to spend m a j o r  cash on those raw-hide free versions.  But...she's worth it.

Lastly- you have one more day to purchase $100 worth of fun sewing stuff HERE and get a free 18" x 54" sheet of glitter vinyl FREE in your choice of color. Amazing sale. I bought two glitter vinyls and three corks to try out. 

Mostly due to peer pressure- FishSkin Designs has been rocking out the cork stuff over the past few months. Check her out here.

Click here for Sara's shop to buy cork, vinyl, zippers, sewing patterns, and hardware.

Time for me to put on my Essential Oils and chillax. Peace out :)


Sewing leggings and dresses this week

Liquid Metal leggings for Ruby per request. 

Leggings are incredibly easy to sew- don't be scared.  I borrowed by friend's serger (Baby Lock Imagine--and yes, it's totally worth the money)-- which made sewing these up even easier, but- my first three pairs were done on the home sewing machine. Knit doesn't ravel or fray, so it's completely ok to sew on the home sewing machine.  Want to try? Here is a free pattern I Googled with directions and everything. 

Here are some of the ones I made for my kids:  (I'm also going to sell a few pairs on Etsy of my signature mismatchy legs pairs because they are awesome.) LOL

This dress took me longer than usual to sew up, but I think it might be my FAVORITE EVER.

The sewing pattern is Simplicity 3775 and I used a Nicole Miller knit jersey fabric, which is so awesome. 

I usually support Indie home shops, 
but I couldn't resist the sale right now at Joann Fabrics--- 
all Nicole Miller is 60% off!! 

I mean RUN to the store. 
I've gone back four times this week.
** It's a problem. LOL

I extended the sleeves about 3" and cut off 4" on the hemline. I made view F. The size 10 fits like a glove- check the measurements on the back of the package, as sewn garments are WAY different than store bought sizing. I just purchased some jeans in a size 6, but I couldn't fit my arm into a size 6 sewn garment. Just a word of caution in case you didn't realize.    ;)

In more Knit News, I tested a fun and fast dress for Terri this week, so I'll share that as soon as she launches her new pattern. 

 I love her garments because they are modern and fast to sew.

 Have you seen Legends? It's next on my list. I love that neckline!

 You can find her patterns HERE.

Also this week I had a lovely huge quilt I made that I ripped apart and made into Yoga Bags and this Emblem duffel-- pattern is by Sew Sweetness, click on Emblem duff. 

I just adore the inside.

I hand stitched parts of it, and decided to not bend down the sides and stitch them as instructed, because-well--if we're being honest here, I was feeling a tad lazy.

I always use By Annie's Soft and Stable foam as stabilizer in my bags now, I just love the way it adds structure but not weight or stiffness. I could bend this/ fold it up if needed, but it stands on its own otherwise. It's really good stuff! Get some here.

I made these extra huge Yoga bags so they fit my extra fluffy yoga mat plus winter clothing and a towel:
My supermodel BFF Leslie models

I super want to get back into Hot Yoga. It is so tough- a true workout. I remember once when I took my friend Allison with me to class and we did this pose:

...and I passed out. Like total blackness... 
It was weird waking up with the teacher bending over me "are you okay?" She said I must have lots of blockages and things I didn't want to think about. Hmmm... I think it was just totally unnatural for me to bend like that. LOL

Speaking of yoga and stuff, have you heard of the magazine Happinez ?

It is SO GOOD- the articles, the images, the inspiration.
I have issue 3 and am reading the section on Mudras currently.

From the website:

In other news, have you seen Tales By Light on Netflix? It is AMAZING! I don't know what else to say other than I was totally mesmerized and had my throat thickening with emotional reactions to everything the camera caught. An astounding body of work, don't miss it.

Hectic times call for unusual measures, which is why it's the perfect time to try meditation. 
Headspace has a trial offer right now for 99 cents. 
I love using this app. I can listen anywhere, using my little phone ear buds makes it really easy. They have as short as 2 min meditations, though usually I like to do the 10 to 20 min sessions. They have a kids section as well, a big help as the Kadampa Meditation Center here in Madison is sometimes hard to fit into our schedule. 

My Cousin (you can follow him here on IG) recently visited Israel, and I can't wait to see his all of his amazing photography. I find other cultures fascinating and invigorating. From what I've seen so far, this trip was a major life event. Where have you traveled that really touched you deep within? Was it the land, the people, or was it mystical?  For me, it was definitely the area around Tintagel, Cornwall where I traced my family roots to. I wrote about it a little bit on our first trip here. It was like nothing I've felt before, and I think about that coastline so frequently I can't help but wonder if the memories of my ancestors are in my DNA.  That's another topic- Noetic Science.

We've needed lots of laughter around here lately. Here is a link to 30 Books that make Kids Laugh out Loud.  

Another good link to save to your Pinterest is 15 Movies from the 80's to watch with your Tweens and Teens. I feel good just thinking about it. :D



How to take better product photos

Bright, uncluttered photos are eye pleasing and easy for clients to focus on the product. It can make or break a sale. Just think of the Pinterest images you pin, or the magazines you browse, or the shops online you like to look at. 

What are common features?  

1. Stellar lighting  
2. Focused/ non blurry image that leads your eye to the "point" of the photo 
3. Styling

It's fun to mix it up now and then and throw in something unexpected. 

I am a non-professional photographer of (my own) products. 
I hope to give you a little help or maybe an idea, as it's taken me a while to find what is easiest and works well at the same time.

You don't HAVE TO use a DSLR but I think it does help. Many people take amazing photos with their phones, I don't seem to have this talent. Point and shoot is fine as well. Use what you have and learn.

*this post contains affiliate links
If you are using a DSLR camera...
I always shoot in Manual Mode. It's here you can play with ISO to get that really bright shot. I make sure to shoot so my light triangle thingy is on the right side (not the left) which tells me it's "brighter" than the camera wants it to be. That's ok-that's the look I'm going for. Rotate the main command dial and play with your preferred look.

Here are my top tips:

1. Clear your space. We don't want to see the laundry basket or your shoes lying around, thanks. (Unless it's styled!)

2. Invest in high quality heavy white paper you can tape onto the wall and have it bend onto the floor as well. No seams. No lines. 

See how my poster board is bending here? It's not expensive, and I can use it over and over again.

However my favorite set up is using this roll of paper which is hung on my wall:

The same look can be achieved my taping or using tacs to pin it up on the wall, and leave it there.
If you must, roll it up and store with a rubber band.

You can see more here in this shot. Note how the lighting is ALL WRONG though.   (LOL)

However, with some editing, I was able to use a lot of these photos.

3. Speaking of editing, I have zero time and patience for Photoshop and LightRoom. So--I use PicMonkey, a super user-friendly online photo service that lets me do what I need to.
Usually, that means brightening a photo, intensifying the color, cropping, and rotating.

You can try out a lot of the stuff for free, and if you need more it's $5/month. I mean--totally, completely worth it.

The tasks every photo I post needs: crop, maybe rotate, brighten.   Sometimes I like to saturate the colors a bit for pOp.  These tasks are so easy in Pic Monkey.  It's a slider bar, literally a monkey could do it. ;)

4. Lighting
I invested (finally) in these lights here just a month ago and WOW what a difference. 

At first I bought just one, but quickly realized shadows are an issue if you don't have window light, so I bought another.

I don't have large windows I can utilize for filtered sun light, so this was a major issue. I do try to shoot in the late morning when the sun is out because somehow that soft light does make a difference, though my photo room has only one window.

 IF you can't buy lighting, put your product near a window out of direct sun, on a white background and shoot. 

5. Tripod or brace your arms / prop them on something.

I like to use a tripod, but time doesn't always allow this. If possible, I prop my elbows on the floor, a counter, or a chair and hold my breath while I press the button. This will result in a crisper photo.

6. Get a reflector

These are great for reducing shadows and brightening up a photo. I love them! I want man size reflectors--I'm still searching.

7. Take top shots looking down-lay your product flat if possible.

See how this top photo is much easier to look at than the one below?

Standing up, pointing camera down:

8. Styling

Make your photo pOp with either other objects in the background (sparingly) OR doing something with your product that is unique. Such as rolling up a quilt rather than just having a straight on shot. Sling it on a chair, have a person model it, etc...

The feel of the photo is important. Like below, I added some grain to the photo to give it that old world feel, as the furniture is old and having paint work done.

It's fun to pay attention to photos that grab your attention. Start compiling them, and note what is drawing you in. Copy a magazine layout for kicks, see if that works. Just start practicing, and you'll find your niche.

Most of all-- HAVE FUN!