Friday, July 15, 2011

Chilling a Bottle of Wine

I realize not everyone is a wine drinker, my mom for example. But she appreciates the art of a good bottle of wine, once it's empty. We traditionally save the really stunning bottles for her "art" in her house. It's actually not a bad idea. But, for those who actually drink it, you need a good way to keep your white wines cold. Okay. No I haven't lost my senses. Yes refrigerators still exist. However, we all know that sometimes we want that bottle close to the table. Or, what if you are having a romantic picnic and have brought along a chilled bottle of wine.

For this reason, I designed wine cozies. I really cannot spend the money needed for the traditional and beautiful wine chillers (more on this later). So, I simply measured a traditional bottle and scaled the pattern to fit - I just enlarged my soda cozy pattern. It really wasn't that difficult. I made the bottom a little larger as well. Here is the result:

I do so love this fabric for all things wine-related. (I also made gift bags.) Here are all of my cozies and gift bags for sale.

For those of you more inclined to the traditional method of chilling your wine, I took the time to briefly search Etsy (my personal favorite place for all things handmade). Here are three that caught my eye especially:

Ice or Wine Bucket designed with glass gems and silver wire - $38 (a great price really)

Utensil holder ice bucket or chiller for chardonnay - $65 (for handmade pottery, this is a wonderful price. I have seen buckets such as this for more in department stores that I highly doubt were handmade)

Hand Painted Waterford Crystal Champagne Wine Chiller Bucket - Classic White and Silver Roses - $148.95 - the priciest of the three but exceptionally beautiful work and come on, it's Waterford Crystal!

I personally will stick with my own cozies but if I ever wanted to buy something more traditional, as a gift per se, these are the one's I'd consider.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grocery Bag Dispensers

I am not a complete tree hugger and I actually dislike that term as I believe saving the environment is a truly worthwhile cause. I try to find many ways to recycle and reuse. We make full use of our local recycling programs and reuse things in the house or repurpose them where we can. So one my earlier sewing projects this winter when I was still pregnant with Liam and Kristoffer was a grocery bag dispenser. I don't line mine - what is the purpose, unless you want a reversible one and you want to turn it out for a different look. That's easy too and you can do it the same way you do anything else lined. It just wasn't what I wanted or needed. For the elastic at the bottom, I use probably 1/3 the elastic as the case is around, to ensure of course the tight bottom hole. You don't want your bags falling out! Yet, you do want to be able to pull them through relatively easily.

Here is the link to my Grocery Bag Dispensers online. I will not be listing them on Etsy. I had them there for four months and while I received a number of "hearts", no sales resulted. I notice for many crafters who sell them on Etsy, they don't move from inventory quickly. They were hugely popular at my craft shows, especially my most recent one the 4th of July. I had one mom of a college male student who had just that weekend been told by her son that he wanted one and couldn't find one! She was absolutely thrilled that I made them. I was pleased to make her day. Other customers commented similarly and wondered why stores such as Target and Wal-Mart no longer carry them. I am quite fine to be one of the few who offer them!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Soda Cozy Pattern

Some of my crafty friends have inquired about my soda cozy pattern. I listed my Soda Cozy Pattern on Etsy and at my website here. I prefer you use my own website but if you prefer Etsy, that's fine to! The truly hardest part of the pattern is maneuvering the bottom. You can sew a cozy without the bottom but then the can could sweat on your furniture and the cold can escape through bottom just as easily. This is why the rubber cozies made by large manufacturers have bottoms. Of course this bottom does not cover the complete bottom of the can for ease of sewing but it still functions quite well! Will the cozy keep your soda cold for four hours? No. But will the rubber ones? No. Trust me I tried it. Besides, who takes four hours to drink a soda?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New website new blog

Now that my new website is up and running and my designer has coordinated all of my social networking sites with my web design, I feel like the business is really taking off. I have lacked the time lately to sew much though. Between my craft show this past weekend and the drive to TN to visit my family and the twins and my 2-year old, time really doesn't allow for much. Right now all of the babies are napping so I can do some computer work. My mom's friend, Robert, is fixing her sewing machine table/cabinet so that I can sew while here. It was damaged in her move from WA state back home here in TN. I certainly will find time to sew while here as I'll be staying for the entire month of July.

Here is my list that I'd like to work on for the month:
  • 15 soda cozies in Chief Illiniwek fabric (out of print and impossible to find because the Chief was banned a few years ago)
  • 10 more make up pouches that I call my "Anastasia pouch". These are cut out already - I just need to cut out the decor bond and iron those pieces do the pouch fabric pieces. That is the only time consuming part. Sewing those actually doesn't take too much time. 
  • A drawstring golf ball bag in each of the three golf ball fabrics I have along with matching reusable baggies that are large enough to fit both a sandwich and a snack/fruit. My mother in law graciously ordered 10 of each of these for a golf tournament in Europe and she believes I should make samples for our local golf clubs here. This means that I really need three of each as we have multiple golf clubs in our area. I hope that goes well. I have a friend who knows the person in charge of them all so hopefully that "in" will give me a leg up. 
  • My own purse - I want a purse that I can use everywhere. I have three kids. I need a big purse but I truly RARELY use my diaper bag unless taking the babies to my sitter for the day or going for a full day outing, which really doesn't happen since the twins are still so small and we don't have a double or triple stroller. I am debating how I want it to look, the pockets on the inside and outside, etc. Do I want a magnetic snap or a zipper? Any ideas? What do you like about your purse and what would you change?