Thursday, March 31, 2011

Help Me Pick a New Product (and a Sale!)


During my kid-free Saturday I made a huge pile of Little Blankies and finished the rest of the Changing Pad Clutches.  I also cut out and started stitching this giant stack of burp cloths, which should be done in the next few days.



3 31 11 burp cloths



So I’ve decided I’ve earned a reward – I’m going to make something brand new for the shop!  Making new stuff is my favorite part of running this business.  Truthfully, sometimes making stacks and stacks of the same thing gets a little old and I need something different to spice things up a bit.


I have something in mind that’s a sweet little baby toy, but I’ve also been tossing around the idea of a new personalized room decoration that works for both a nursery and a big kid’s room.  Also, my friend Shan suggested making some crowns for little boys after I begged for opinions on Facebook.



 print little princess pink detail barrette organizer pink yellow



Since I’m bringing in some new things soon, I’m retiring a few products from my Etsy shop.  I’m going to set up a sale section this weekend with all of the prints and Barrette Organizers – once they’re gone, they’re sadly not coming back.  The prints are goners since they don’t fit in with my product mix.  The Barrette Organizers just haven’t been popular enough to keep around.


So what do you think the new product (or products!) should be?  Any other suggestions?  I’ve got all that new fabric to play with and I’m antsy to get sewing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Sweet New Bag + That Awesome Blanket

Last week I took a break from the stock-the-inventory-closet sewing and made myself this sweet new bag!

3 29 11 abby bag

The pattern is from V and Co. and is super simple and fun to make.  There aren’t even pattern pieces – you just cut it all out with your rotary cutter and it sews up in no time!

3 29 11 abby bag detail

This is a serious bag, not a dainty purse.  On Sunday it happily held my usual purse stuff, two kiddo jackets, an American Girl doll, a folder full of paper, my big camera, and a box of Rice Krispie treats (it was a party, what can I say?).  It’s that handy size for when your kids are too old to require a diaper bag but you still end up hauling around half your house.

You should also head on over to Vanessa’s blog – it’s full of fun sewing projects and loads of inspiration.  It’s definitely one of my faves.

3 29 11 chenille blanket preparation

I’m not the only one getting something new around here.  Remember the awesome chenille blanket I mentioned in last weekend’s Weekend Links?  I started one for the little guy!  Poor thing – being a second child to a busy mom means he hardly has any handmade stuff, so I’m excited to finish this up for him.

3 29 11 chenille blanket stitching

I’m following the tutorial from Aesthetic Nest that was linked to on Living With Punks.  So far it’s going surprisingly quickly given that I’m not a great quilter and it is A LOT of quilting.  You better believe I’ll be showing pictures of this one when it’s done.

What are you guys up to?  Any new fun projects?  Want to tempt me with another project for myself?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Links, March 26th

Read It

Keeping It All Organized from Team Eco Etsy (via the Etsy Success newsletter).  There’s some serious organizational eye candy going on in this post.  My husband decided we can sell the pool table that takes up most of my sewing room, so I’m in major redecorating mode.  I already ordered the comic book boards to help with fabric organization!

design sponge scrap paper light

Make It

Scrap Paper Chandelier from Design Sponge.  A-MAZING.  Seriously.

Cozy Chenille Baby Blanket from Living With Punks.  I am 100% obsessed with this blanket.  My little guy is finally old enough to sleep with a blanket and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one of these.


Bake It

No Nonsense Spiced Carrot Cake from Angry Chicken.  I like my carrot cake nice and plain, so this is right up my alley.  Plus, the kiddos and I are in a frozen-waffles-or-cereal breakfast rut and I think I can justify carrot cake for breakfast.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It’s (Craft) Show Time!

The craft show season is upon us, ladies and gentleman, and my dance card is filling up nicely already!  Since this is my first spring/summer season in business I’m trying to do just a few great shows instead of just signing up for everything all willy-nilly.

Record Store Day 2011

In a few weeks (on April 16th, to be exact – go ahead and put it on your calendar) is Record Store Day at Luna Music in Broad Ripple.  This is another show put on by the lovely Martha, the brains behind Handmade Promenade.  There’s going to be great music and I’m hoping for good weather – it’s an outside show.

My crafty buddy Shan of Green Illuminations invited me to participate in an open house hosted at a friend’s house in May.  I’ve never done an open house, but I’m excited.  I think the more intimate setting will be great for getting to know some new customers.

indieana handicraft exchange screenshot

I just found out Tuesday that I got accepted to the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Summer Show.  This is SO AWESOME.  I’ve been to this show the past two years and am always so impressed by what’s sold there, so it just knocks me over that I’m going to be a part of it.

Although I haven’t managed to send in my application yet, I’m planning on being at the Rocky Ripple Festival again this year.  The 2010 show was my very first show so it’s going to be great to no longer be a rookie!

I’ll probably try to find one more show in July or August to finish up the bobaloo! Summer Tour.  If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know!

Are you a craft show shopper?  Any shows you try not to miss?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

bobaloo! is one of Babble’s top 50!

How awesome is that?!  If you’re already a Facebook fan you know all about it, but I wanted to share the big news here too!

3 23 11 babble top 50 etsy baby shops bobaloo! just listed my Etsy shop as one of the 2011 Top 50 Etsy Baby Shops!  I also made it to #9 in the Gear category.  Go check out the article – there are a ton of an awesome shops listed!

Thanks Jaime and for the awesome honor!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Just Bought 100 Yards Of Fabric. Oh my.

I know you guys are tired of hearing about it.  I’m tired of debating it, and my husband’s tired of looking at fabric swatches online.  So I finally did it.

I placed my first wholesale fabric order!  Yippee!

2011 color story

I’ve been doing research on this for quite a while now.  I whipped up a color story for 2011 to guide my fabric choices and looked through lines of fabric OVER and OVER.  For a couple of weeks now I’d been set on opening an account with Westminster/Free Spirit – I even have all my fabrics picked out.  Their opening order is $750 so my little business has been patiently saving money in hopes of getting there soon.

But I got antsy.  I started to look around again.  And I realized Riley Blake Designs has a TON of prints I like, in colors that fit my color story!  And they have a much lower starting minimum.  I’m sure you can guess how this turned out – I ordered 100 (yes, ONE HUNDRED) yards of fabric from Riley Blake!  Here are the five full bolts I bought:

3 21 11 riley blake fabric order
Plus I bought a set of 3 yards of each of 8 fabrics from the Wheels line, which was on sale for WAY cheap (I think it’s out of print).  I’m now realizing I have no idea which of these fabrics I’ll get, so it will probably be all the blenders and not the cool bike and car prints, but that’s okay.

wheels by riley blake

Looking at my choices made me realize I may have an affinity for polka dots.  This is reinforced by the fact that there is both a green dot and a brown dot fabric currently in my dryer.  I was trying to buy fabrics I’d use a bunch of, and dots go with everything, right?

I’m also excited about two upcoming Riley Blake lines that I’ll be able to order from – Happier and Farm Fresh.  Aren’t these two prints so stinkin’ cute? 

3 21 11 happier and farm fresh

Hopefully in the next couple of months I’ll be opening that Free Spirit account, too, especially since I put so much work into picking my fabrics (and hello, bolts of Nicey Jane?  Awesome!).

Are there any supplies you buy in mass quantities?  Do you love having a big supply of the same thing, or do you like having small amounts of a variety?  Am I going to be so tired of these fabrics that I’ll never want to see them again?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stats Tracking with Free Downloadable Spreadsheet!

This past Monday the subject of the weekly Crafterminds chat was stats.  There are a lot of schools of thought on stats – follow them closely, don’t look at them at all, look at them occasionally… it seems like everyone has a different view on the subject.

I will admit to checking my shop stats more often than really necessary (darn you, Craftopolis!).  Blogger also makes it entirely too easy to view blog stats, so maybe I swing on over to that Stats tab here and there.  But I promise, the serious number crunching only happens once a month!

I made an Excel spreadsheet a few months back to keep track of all of those numbers generated by running your own online business and blog, including blog stats, social networking numbers, and the fees and views associated with selling online and at fairs.  After that chat on Monday I thought maybe I should just share it with you guys!

3 17 11 bobaloo stats tracking pg 1 

There are 3 pages with a different set of numbers on each.  The first page is information on sales and fees.  I’ve set this page up with a section for two separate online shops (I have an abandoned Cargoh shop, which is another blog post) plus a general craft shows section.  The purpose of this page is to see what percentage of your sales is being spent on fees (there’s a formula already in the spreadsheet to calculate the percentage).

3 17 11 bobaloo stats tracking pg 2

The second page tracks shop views, visits, and item information, again for two separate shops.  I get most of this info from Google Analytics.  I also have a formula in there to track the average views per item.

3 17 11 bobaloo stats tracking pg 3

The last page is mostly social networking stats, plus a column for newsletter subscribers.  No formulas here, just a bunch of good ol’ numbers that I gather from a bunch of sources, including Google Analytics, my Facebook page, and Mail Chimp

I’ve filled in six months of stats with some made-up numbers so you can see how everything works.  Also, there’s space on each page to make notes on events that may have affected stats, like a giveaway or a bad craft fair. 

Want to try it out?  Download it here!

3 17 11 bobaloo stats tracking download icon

Make sure you come on back and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Cure for Monday is Cookies

I’m taking a break from the sewing and business coverage to talk about my other favorite activity – eating (particularly eating sweets).  It was just me and the kiddos all day yesterday, and on days like that we all tend to get a little tired of each other at about three in the afternoon.  I thought cookies would probably help.

The latest issue of Martha Stewart Living has the most ADORABLE little chick cookies on the cover.  I somehow have a chick cookie cutter (and a bunny, bonus!) so I’ve been itching to copy them.  I have only attempted royal icing-topped cookies once before yesterday and that batch was a royal mess (ha!). 

3 15 11 icing

I can’t find the article from the magazine on the Martha Stewart site, but it looks like the cookie recipe is here and the icing recipe is here.  After the cookies were cool, I made one big batch of white icing, then tinted two separate bowls pink and purple with Wilton gel food coloring.  I poured both colors into plastic squeeze bottles and did my best to spread the icing evenly.

3 15 11 cookies

These are WAY better than my last attempt.  The cookies tasted just okay – the dough seemed really dry – so I'll probably hunt down another cookie recipe before I attempt another batch.  Also, I can’t seem to get the consistency of the icing right.  The pink icing ran off some of the cookies and the purple was so thick it made for a teeth-crackingly thick layer of icing.

Who’s got cut-out cookie tips for me?  Why do I keep messing up royal icing?  Want to share your favorite recipes?

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  If you click through and buy something I get a teeny tiny percentage of your purchase back, which I will promptly spend on fabric.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekend Links, March 12th

Read It

10 Things to Never Say to a Crafter/Artist/Indie Business Owner from Indie Pretty Projects.  This made me laugh out loud, for real.  I even had to read it to my husband.  I’ve heard some version of most of these, and I’m sure you guys have too!

2 Reasons Why Discounts are Deadly for Crafters from Hello Craft.  This is such an excellent article about the dangers of the current discount-shopper mentality being harmful to handmade businesses.  I have given a discount code here or there and this article has really made me think about if it’s a good idea.

Make It

7 Ways to Restyle a T-shirt with Cal Patch from Craft Stylish.  Who doesn’t have a few old tshirts laying around asking to be turned into something cute?  This post has some great, easy restyling ideas.

Homemade Spring Gift with Free Printable Card from Living Locurto.  I’ve never made lemon curd, but I sure have eaten my fair share.  Packaged in a sweet little jar with a a tag, this is an awesome idea for a hostess gift for a spring party.  It’s almost cookout season, right?

cg boys room after

Be Inspired
Boy’s Room:
Sources, Projects & A Question from Centsational Girl.  This boy’s room is AMAZING!  It’s sophisticated but still totally appropriate for a boy, plus Kate gives links to must of the products and explains a lot of the smaller projects in the room.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My husband’s been off work since last Wednesday and isn’t going back until Monday.  While I love the man dearly, having him home has COMPLETELY thrown off my schedule!  Luckily he’s feeling better now and has returned to being Super Dad, so I’ve conquered a ton of projects that have been lurking around.


I took a short break from the to-do list to make a bunch of beanbags, which are for some unknown reason one of my favorite things to make.  I’m not sure if they’ll go up in the Etsy shop this time because shipping always ends up being kinda high since they’re heavy.  I’ll probably take a few over to the Little Green Bean Boutique and the rest will come with me to this year’s shows.

changing pad pink and orange martini

The unfinished project I gave you a sneak peak of a while back is a sweet Changing Pad Clutch that I made for a very special celebration over at Emily’s blog, DesignHer MommaCasey, a good friend of Emily’s, is a fellow Indy blogger who is expecting her second kiddo after a loooong wait.  Emily is throwing her one heck of a baby shower and the Changing Pad Clutch was my contribution.


What does this have to do with you, you ask?  Part of the baby shower celebration is giveaways galore!  Head on over to Emily’s blog to enter the $20 bobaloo! giveaway so you can buy yourself something pretty from my Etsy shop.  And tell Emily I said hi!

Hopefully this week I continue to destroy my need-to-sew list and build up some more inventory.  This Saturday will be fun because I get to meet my first blogging buddies IN PERSON – can’t wait to see you girls!

What are you all up to?  Being lazy, enjoying the (slightly) warmer weather, knocking out that to do list?  Motivate me to keep working!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to Add A Tweet Button to Your Blogger Posts

After reading this post on Dear Crissy, I decided to figure out how to add a Tweet button to my posts so readers can share on Twitter quickly.  After a little googling and a lot of trial and error, I have it working!

My blog is on Blogger, so if you’re using Wordpress or any other blogging platform this probably won’t help you.  And I’m by no means an expert on html or blog customization – I mostly just try things out and cross my fingers!  Make sure before you make any changes to your template you save a backup copy to your computer.  Enough disclosures, here’s what worked for me!

3 8 11 tweet button 1

First, log into twitter and click on the “resources” link, which is on the right side of your twitter home under all of the recommendations.

3 8 11 tweet button 2

Click on “create tweet button”.

3 8 11 tweet button 3

Choose how you want your button to look, then make sure your twitter handle is in the box in step 2.  You can add another handle to all your tweets if you’d like to – I didn’t.

3 8 11 tweet button 4

Your code will show up in the text box on the bottom right, in step 3.

3 8 11 tweet button 5

Now open up the design section of your blog and click the “Edit HTML” link at the top of the page, under the tabs.  Now click the “Expand Widget Templates” box.

3 8 11 tweet button 6

Press Control+F, which will open up a little search box at the top of your page.  Type “<data:post.body/>” (without the quotes) into the Find: field, which should automatically bring up that line of code, highlighted, in the text box of your design page.  By the way, I found out where to post the code from this blog post.

3 8 11 tweet button 7

You’ve backed up your template, right?  Okay then, go back to your Twitter page and copy the code that was generated for your button.  Paste it into the template for your blog right above the code we searched for on the last step.

3 8 11 tweet button 8

Click the orange “Save Template” button.  View your blog and marvel at your new Tweet button!

For some reason pretty much all of my posts say they’ve been tweeted twice, which I know isn’t the case.  Hopefully it works itself out, maybe it’s just a syncing issue?

Try it out and let me know if it works for you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Links, March 6th

Read It
6 Ways for Crafters to Effectively Use Twitter on Handmadeology.  I am on Twitter pretty often but I still feel like I don’t really know what to say.  My crafty buddy Martha gives some great tips in this article, including the importance of hashtags (which I never remember to use).


For Your Blog
Creating a Welcome Box for Your Blog from Positively Splendid.  You all may have noticed I have a bit of blog ADD lately - I can’t stop adding and moving things around.  This may be next on my try-it-out list.  I love how Amy both gives the html and explains what it all means.

Cook It
Leek and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart from Make and Takes.  All of us are goat cheese fans, but I’m the only leek eater in our house.  I’m pretty tempted to just make this for myself in the next few days, especially since all I need is the puff pastry.  And you can never have too much puff pastry in the house.

Eat This: Best Brownie Made Even Better from Chez Beeper Bebe.  Lordy, lordy do I love brownies.  I’m probably going to make some excuse like “this would be a great activity for Bridget and I!” as a reason to whip up a batch of these.

3 5 11 simple simon and company skirt

Make It

The Bustle Skirt from Simple Simon & Company.  Oh my goodness is this cute.  I’m having some serious problems narrowing down what I’m going to make for B to wear on Easter, and this little tutorial just threw another possibility into the mix.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crackers and Gatorade

My poor hubs had some sinus surgery yesterday so I’m taking the day off to take care of him.  I’ll be back on Saturday with some great links that, for some reason, are mostly yummy-looking food.

And don’t forget about that bobaloo! giveaway over at Just Another Day in Paradise!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One Hundreds!

Yesterday was just a crazy day.  Evidently 100 was my lucky number, ‘cause it was all over the place!

3 1 11 bobaloo! etsy sales

I got my 100th (and then some!) sale in my Etsy shop!

3 1 11 feedburner stats bobaloo!

3 1 11 bobaloo! gfc stats

I passed 100 rss feed and Google Friend Connect subscribers to the blog!

3 1 11bobaloo! fb stats

And I have 100 (actually, it’s now 102) bobaloo! facebook fans!

Whew, I’m tired just writing it!  I have been working hard the past week on promotion and it’s obviously paying off.  The Etsy sales are probably due to renewing twice a day last week, plus I listed a bunch of new stuff Sunday and Monday.  The jump in subscribers and Facebook fans probably came from the same two sources – the (very popular) post on making a Facebook landing page, plus the Crafterminds chat about Facebook yesterday.  Plus I shamelessly begged for Facebook fan #100 just so I could make it.

It’s really, really exciting, guys.  Seriously.  It feels like some serious validation - people like what I make and like reading about it.  I try really hard not to focus on numbers and just put out the best product I can, but it’s hard to not get excited about all those triple digits.

3 1 11 adip giveaway

So it’s pretty fitting that I can send you all over to a giveaway!  Head on over to Another Day in Paradise where Larissa’s giving away a sweet bobaloo! goodie for either your little man or sweet princess!

THANK YOU, all of you, for being such great supporters and making starting my own little business worthwhile!
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