22 November 2007

Save the World Sundays

It's that time of year - thoughts turn to the Christmas holiday season, and with it, gift buying. It is sometimes hard to pick the right gift, and sometimes easy. Sometimes we start early, and sometimes it is a last minute dash to the store to make sure that everyone has something special under the tree.

This year, may I suggest shopping a bit differently. In addition to thinking about what everyone would like to receive, please consider buying something handmade by a small business and also consider purchasing from the Etsy Trashion Street Team shops for things handmade AND upcycled! What's upcycled? It is taking something destined for the trash and giving it a new life!

In order to make it even better for shoppers, Etsy Trashion Street Team members are having a special sale - Save the World Sundays!! For the next two Sundays, November 25th and December 2nd, team members are offering different sales. Redux Designs if offering 20% off all purchases on these two Sundays - save some money while helping save the world! What could be better?

Well, maybe this - by shopping on Etsy, you can sit at home, avoid the crowds and messy parking lots, and enjoy the experience of browsing for gifts! Be comfortable while working through your Christmas gift list!

One warning - just like in retail stores, the good stuff goes quick! If you see something you like, it might not be there when you go back to look later, so don't delay!

Happy Holidays!

18 November 2007

It's Back........

Project Runway began Season Four last Wednesday!!! YES!!!!! I don't watch many of the reality TV shows, but I've been a fan of Project Runway since it began (well, I think I finally found it about the 3rd episode of Season One).

I've even thought about auditioning for it, but have finally realized that I do NOT work well under the conditions that are imposed on the designers. I have a strong belief in what I do, in my vision, and I like to think I am open to constructive criticism. However, I am not a competitive person, and I don't like to be attacked for what I believe in.

And while this season's designers said to be the most talented group yet, I am cautious in my enthusiasm of the show. I really liked the idea that someone unknown, and truly struggling to get their design business off the ground would have a chance at being seen. This season, it appears that the designers already have successful businesses and are using the show to be MORE successful, not to get a start.

I guess what it boils down to is - I wouldn't have a chance of being selected if I auditioned. So perhaps it is more sour grapes from me than anything else.

Still, I eagerly look forward to what this season will show. I LOVE the scenes that show the designers actually working as designers - selecting fabric, trying to figure out how to drape, or sew something together. And, when things go wrong, how they sort it out and try to make it work. Stuff I also deal with in my design business. In fact, I wish MORE of this was shown!

For those unfamiliar with the show, it will be on Bravo on Wednesday evenings. Check local listings for time as it varies depending on time zone, and episodes are repeated frequently. And if you are new to the show, the previous seasons are not out on DVD.

Carry on!!

14 November 2007

'Tis the Season!

Yes, the holidays are upon us! For those in the US, Thanksgiving is next Thursday! Already?!? Well, there are five Thursdays this November, and since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday, it is coming early this year.

In that light, I've begun listing a few Christmas items in the Redux Designs Etsy shop. I don't have many items specifically for Christmas, but what I have, I'm putting up this week and next.

Today, I listed this bracelet:

Years ago, my mom found a necklace at a garage sale, and for some reason, gave it to me. It was made up of gold, red, and green beads, along with various Christmas charms. It was, to be honest, not my style at all! However, there was plenty of raw material waiting to be re-created into some wonderful things.

I first made a bracelet for myself (hey, I need to test out the design and my skills!), then I've taken some more of the beads and charms and made a couple of other bracelets. The one above, is the first one I've listed on Etsy. The beads are green and gold colored; the charms are gold colored and everything, except the jump rings and lobster claw clasp are reused from the necklace.

I listed this bracelet and another one last year, but they got very few views. Maybe they got lost in the Etsy shuffle. Here's hoping this year will be better. I also have a few holiday things I've crocheted, so I'll add them soon. Please keep checking back for updates.

Happy Holidays!

05 November 2007

Today's Tip

Sometimes, it is the little things that can make all the difference.

For example - this is what I have stored my thread in for years:

It kept them all in one place, but there was one problem - I couldn't see what color the thread was without picking up the spool. I sorted them by color, so all the white and beige were groups together, etc., but still, I often had to pick up the thread and hold it up to the light to see if it was what I needed. Long story short, this system was not working for me.

I realized what I wanted was a container I could lay the thread in, on its side, so I could quickly see what color it was. I didn't really have anything that would fit into the drawer I keep the thread in, but being broke, I wasn't prepared to buy something. So I waited........

Last week, I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboard, and found I had a tin in there with a few tea bags in it. Cute tin, isn't it??

The tea bags were put in another container, and the tin? It found a new life as the holder of my spools of thread! The larger spools go in the tin; the smaller ones in the lid:

Lovely aren't they?

So how is my new system working? Well - I've been so busy sewing the dresses for Madeline's Christmas, that I haven't done anything else! I am sure once that project is complete, I'll be much happier with my new thread storage system.

So, today's tip is: if something isn't working right, if it is taking time rather than saving time, figure out what the problem is. What can be done to correct it? Are there materials around me that I can reuse instead of buying? Take care of the little things so you have more time for the big stuff!

01 November 2007

Plastic Bags

I never thought I would say this - but I could use more plastic bags!

Over the summer I have tried to remember to take my canvas bags with me to the grocery store in order to avoid using any more plastic bags. Since I already had a huge stash at home, I also began crocheting a tote made from plastic bag "yarn". (I hoping to get a tutorial up soon, but you can also search for "plastic bag yarn" and find several on the internet). I wanted to make it strong, to take to the store instead of/in addition to my canvas bags. (Yes, I'm hoping that someone will comment on it and I can both talk about the dangers of plastic bags AND talk about Redux Designs) So I began a bag made from Target bags - you know, white with the red design and lettering. And I'm almost through - and I've run out of bags! I haven't shopped at Target much for financial reasons, but I am facing a dilemma - how do I finish my tote? And, I had planned to make one for my mom as part of her Christmas gift (since I know she will use it) - will I be able to find enough bags?

Here is how my bag looks now - almost finished!

I do have a stash of bags from other stores, but the Target bags are sturdier so I've used them. My other source is my part-time retail job. We often get customers returning items in our plastic bags, so I hope to reuse them for "yarn". These bags are very thick and sturdy, so they will be great for crocheting with, but since I only work one or two days a month, I don't collect them very fast.

My stash of plastic bags:

Yes, I could ask my friends so save theirs for me, but I'm already looked at oddly most of the time - I'm not sure I want to venture further into that territory (maybe I just need some new friends who "get" me).

What a thing to complain about! I've been quite good at remembering my canvas bag, so I'm bringing home much fewer bags from the store and adding less to the waste stream. I guess I need to realize that my future is NOT in making things from plastic bags, but rather reusing things that I can easily gather together.

But first, I have to get enough bags to finish my tote!!