Sunday, June 4, 2017

June check-in: Two finished objects and some serious bargains

You know how stoked I was last month that it was May? Well, June is definitely my favorite month. I'm turning 39 at the end of the month, which means I gotta start planning NOW for the blowout party I want to have next year when I turn 40. Right?

New on Etsy

I swear I actually DID list a bunch of new stuff on Etsy, but then an angel swooped in and bought 13 dresses in one order, which COMPLETELY made my month but also depleted my new stock! (A good problem to have, I know.) I'm processing a bunch of new listings this week to get the shop filled back up again, but in the meantime, here are a few favorites:

Emerald green Gailord pussy bow blouse | $11
I am kinda in love with this cute blouse (the pintucks!) even if it is a bit worn — which is why it's such a bargain. I know someone's going to give it a good forever home!

Psychedelic pastel nylon nightgown | $22
I always enjoy a good psychedelic print, and this one is in gorgeous condition. I feel like you could totally get away with wearing this as a dress, with some creative styling.

Pastel 70s sheer sleeve pussy bow dress | $14
Another bargain, due to some stains that are mostly covered up by the bow. Pastel is not a good look on me but I just love the colors and the overall look of this dress — it's so airy and dreamy.

1980s Anthony Richards bias stripe polyester knit dress | $17
Stripes AND polka dots — how can you go wrong? Not to mention it's one of several larger sized dresses I have in the shop right now (with more coming soon).

What I'm Making

So pleased to be able to report that I finished TWO projects in May, both of which I had been working on for a while!


Please ignore the hoop marks (ahem) but this is the finished product of my first Stitch Collab project, and I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I had a really clear idea in my head of the colors I wanted to use, and once I got the hair and hat done, I was able to fly through the rest of the stitching. More to come about this project over at the Stitch Collab blog.

The other thing I finished was a baby quilt!


My feelings about this project are super mixed. On the one hand, I am kind of cringing even now to look at these photos because it's so, so wonky.


On the other hand, I'm proud of myself for diving in and trying something new, and for sticking with this all the way until the end (I'm kiiiind of a quitter when it comes to challenging craft projects).


It DEFINITELY has its flaws, but I learned a lot through the process of creating this, and I feel confident that if/when I try quilting again, I'll benefit from the experience. So I'm calling this one a win. It has already got me thinking about other quilt patterns (although I think I will stick with baby quilts for the foreseeable future, as even this tiny little guy took me AGES to complete — I was just looking back through my Instagram feed and I cut out the pieces for this LAST AUGUST).


What's Next

I am so excited for it to be summer! I love having more light in the evenings so I can sew, embroider or take Etsy photos in natural light. I am also wrestling with another sewing project — I am endlessly fussing with what was supposed to be a "simple" rayon top, which means it will probably take me 6 months to finish it!

Sewing is still 2 steps forward, 1 step back for me — just when I feel like I'm gaining some experience and expertise, I will pull a total rookie move and do something really silly. But I try to remember that, for me, it's a hobby — it's not my livelihood, it's something I do because I enjoy it. So it's OK to make mistakes.


On the Etsy front, I have a bunch of new fabric to photograph and list (you can always get sneak peeks at what's coming up via Instagram), and I am playing around with doing thrift hauls on Instagram stories. I missed doing thrift haul posts, but it just wound up being too time-consuming for me to keep up with, so I'm trying out other ways of doing it.

I hope your summer is off to a good start! Join me back here at the start of July to see what's new.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May check-in: Shop updates and thank-yous

Happy May! Everyone around me is like "GOSH WHERE DID APRIL GO" but I am so glad it's May. Spring is my favorite season and the return of warmer weather and green growing things is just balm for my soul.


What's New


I've been threatening for years to take the day off work on May Day, and this year I finally did it. My daughter and I filled our kitchen table with wildflowers, put on flowery dresses and crowns, and visited a local children's center for a May Day celebration. It was seriously awesome and I am so glad I took the day off to spend this time with her.

Me-made butterfly dress for me, vintage dress for my daughter

New on Etsy

It's also looking a lot like spring in my Etsy shop (see what I did there) — everything I've been buying/listing lately seems to be bright florals or pastels. Although, to be honest, that's kind of a year-round thing with me. I'm totally in the closet about my love of florals, but when I look at the fabric (and clothes) I tend to buy, it's hard to deny it.

Here are some of my favorite things in the shop right now:

1960s home-sewn floral back-zip cotton blouse | $22


1970s pastel floral knit maxi dress | $27
1980s Maggy London abstract floral checked silk dress | $29
1990s teal floral ruffle sleeve sundress | $17

What I'm making

My embroidery collaboration project is fully under way — you can read more about my process on the Stitch Collab website, which is just now getting up and running.


I'm so, so excited about this project, but it's also getting off to kind of a slow start, because the design I chose to start with (which you can see in this blog post) is a pretty time-consuming one. But I'm enjoying it and I am pleased so far with the way it's turning out (you can see some work-in-progress photos on Instagram).

What's next

My sewing projects have basically stalled, as all my free time has been focused on embroidery and freelancing. I was excited to post a piece with Swaay Media on "How to Hustle When You Have No Time," which is obviously a topic near and dear to my heart. I've also written about wild ramps and yoga vs. Facebook, and am looking forward to diving into another writing project now that things are a little quieter at work (goodbye budget season, don't let the door hit you on the way out).

In May, I hope to be able to start my next Stitch Collab project, and maybe bring on some new collaborators. I'm also looking forward to seeing everyone's #MeMadeMay posts (I'm challenging myself to wear at least one me-made garment each week — you can find out how I am doing on Instagram), and following along with the Vintage Fashion Challege. I haven't done a fashion challenge in ages, and I usually wind up being more of a spectator than a participant, but I really love the prompts for this one and I can't wait to see what everyone posts.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who entered my April giveaways — it was great to connect with so many people and it was a lot of fun to do. I'm taking a break from giveaways in May, but I hope to do more during the summer!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April check-in: Shop birthday giveaway(s)

Bear with me as I get a little sentimental, because this month I am marking the FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my Etsy shop.


This is one of the first product shots I ever took. My daughter was a few months old. I was still on part-time maternity leave, just starting to inch back into the world of being something other than a full-time mom. I was hungry — hungry for something that would give me purpose. Hungry to feel productive, to feel like I was doing something, that I was working toward a goal.

Every time I went to my local thrift store, I saw things hanging on the racks that other people were selling on Etsy for two, three, four times the price. And I had that dumb, naive thought that so many other people have had. I thought, "I could do this. I could buy stuff and sell it on Etsy."

So I did.

My first ever banner! Awww

To say I didn't know what I was doing would be an understatement. I really, REALLY did not know what I was doing. But I kept going. I sold a few things, and after I exhausted all the vintage I was willing to part with from my own closet, I bought a few more things. And a few more, and a few more. And here I am five years later with nevermindhowmany pieces of vintage completely taking over what used to be my bedroom, and I'm really happy to be where I am.

I haven't gotten rich, or quit my day job, or become an icon of vintage fashion. But what has happened has been pretty awesome. I've sold a lot of vintage (about to hit the 750 sales mark) and I've gotten to know a lot of really cool people — customers, other vintage sellers, and people who have commented on my posts.

It's encouraging to look back and see how far I've come, even as I continue to try to do a better job at this whole endeavor. I would love to be able for Bread and Roses Vintage to continue to grow. Mostly, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me, whether with words of encouragement and support, by buying from me, or just being a friend.

Giveaways

Each week during April, I'll be running a different giveaway. Each giveaway will kick off on Sunday and run through midnight Friday, with winners announced over the weekend. Here's the schedule for the month, with more details to come when each giveaway launches:

April 2-7: $25 Etsy gift certificate (CLOSED)

Winner: @ explorin_lauren_

April 9-15: Personal thrift shopper 

Winner: @marcandkelli 

April 16-22: Goody bag

 Winner: Judy 

April 23-29: Handmade/custom item

Something made just for you, by me! Choose from a knit cowl, an embroidered wall hanging or a quilted makeup bag

Thanks again to everyone who has made Bread and Roses Vintage a success, and here's to another five years!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March check-in

Hey hey, I'm back! Without telling a whole long story about blog fatigue and how I got my groove back, I'll just say that I'm inspired to do some posting here once more with a slightly different format. My goal is to check in about once a month and just post a few updates about what's new. So let's give this a try:

New on Etsy

After a quiet January, things have been flying out of the shop, and I'm super grateful to all my customers for the support. Unfortunately, I did have one mix-up in which I had to cancel an order, which felt absolutely awful 😧but otherwise things have been going smoothly. I'm excited to start listing more spring items in the shop, but in the meantime, I have some great transitional items listed. Here's a few of my current favorites:

Vintage 1980s Prairie Revival long-sleeve cotton dress | $23
New old stock floral print heels | $21

1990s J. Crew floral print boxy cardigan | $24
I will be continuing to add items to my $5 Sale section over the next several weeks, so be sure to check back there for some great clearance bargains (like these burgundy Hush Puppies boots). And here's a peek at a few of the great items that will be listed soon (let me know if you want more info, or if you'd like to reserve anything):





What I'm Making

I honestly don't remember what prompted me to knit my first self-drafted chevron hat, but I remember being obsessed with the idea for a while before I started, and being gleeful when the first one was finally off the needles, as you can see here: 


I knit a second one, and I'm now on my third, and I'm still not sure if I've got this particular crafting urge out of my system! Next steps are to try to write up the pattern and see if I can get it placed somewhere (maybe submit it to Knitty? or maybe just put it up on Ravelry). If you're interested in being an informal test knitter if and when I get a real pattern together, please let me know!


I'm also trying to make headway on a quilt that I started ... ugh, I think during the summer? I keep taking long breaks from it and then coming back to it, but I'm almost done with the quilting, and then I just have to figure out how to bind it.



This is my first time putting together a quilt, and it's been an interesting experience. I don't think I have the patience to do this on a large scale, but I am enjoying the technique, so I've been brainstorming about smaller quilted projects.


Finally, I am close to wrapping up a super sekrit embroidery project that I'm really excited about — I can't show it to you here, but here's a look at my planning process, which pretty much says everything about how I like working (i.e. USE ALL THE COLORS).



What's New

A lot has changed since the last time I posted — well, really just one major change. I got a new job! After 13 years (my god I still can't believe it was that long) working at my local newspaper, I started working as a communications specialist for local school districts at the end of July. This has been a really big transition for me, and my family — I could go on and on about it, but I'll just hit some of the highlights.

For starters, I'm working much more regular / predictable hours. I go to work in the morning and I'm usually done by 4 p.m. every day — and then that's it. No rushing to get work done after hours, staying up late, etc. On the other hand, my schedule is a lot less flexible, which was definitely an advantage for us as working parents with a young child.

One of my big hopes about taking this job was that it would help me feel less burned out — and it definitely does. I knew I would really miss writing my newspaper column, so I've been pushing myself to write more (even though it hasn't shown here), and have actually gotten a few bylines as a result! You can follow my "non-fashion / day job" Twitter to see more (hopefully) of my writing.


What's Next

Once I finish this quilt, I'm eager to knock out a few quicker sewing projects (although I still have a few unfinished objects hanging around that I should really tackle instead, but, you know, the lure of the new). For summer, I'd love to make the sleeveless version of this top out of a remnant of vintage silk, with a contrasting fabric for the neck band: 


I'm not 100 percent sure this color combination will work, but I like the idea of pairing a geometric print cotton with the soft botanical print of the silk.


Also on the crafting front, I've been reaching out to a few artist friends about doing some visual art / embroidery collaborations, which I'm really excited about. If you are a visual artist (or if you do any type of lettering / calligraphy, etc.) I would love to talk to you about collaborating! 

One of the things that's great about my new job is that I'm learning a tremendous amount, including things about social media, marketing and strategic planning that I'm hoping to apply to my Etsy shop. I've set myself the goal for this year of creating a marketing plan for Bread & Roses Vintage, and I'm also hoping to help my husband with some marketing strategies for his book business. 

And in April, my Etsy shop is going to mark its fifth birthday, which shocks me on several levels. For one thing, I can't believe I've been doing this for FIVE YEARS. For another thing, I can't believe I got started when my daughter was only a few months old. I took my first-ever product shots on the floor of her nursery while she was napping! 

My daughter and me in 2012
I'm hoping to do a big giveaway (or a series of giveaways?) in April, as well as having some great sales, so I hope to have more on that when I check in next month. If you have an Etsy shop or business and would like to collaborate on a giveaway, please let me know

Whew, that was a long check-in! As always, you can stay up to date with me on Instagram (and, to a lesser extent, on Facebook and Twitter). And I would love to hear from you, so drop a line in the comments or get in touch any time! It's good to be back 😊