Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black and White Issues

Black and white weddings are really popular and with good reason.  I don't know of a more exquisite color scheme.  I've had a lot of orders from brides lately and one of them is having a black and white wedding.  She ordered a gift for a bridesmaid from me and then posted my shop on a wedding forum.  I was pretty thrilled just to get posted somewhere else! I got so excited (probably a little too much so) that I decided I would make an eye mask in a black and white damask fabric.

Yeah, that turned into bookmarks, coffee cup sleeves and of course, magnets.  I started thinking about the eye masks though.  It's a great 30 minute project and Martha (of course) has a template.

My thought process wandered from there.  I have a book with a template for an eye mask in it but I don't dare use it because it strictly forbids using any of the patterns for re-sale items.  Okay, I get it.  Copyright protection is a good thing but how far is too far on some of this stuff?  I'm really glad Mr. Business Card didn't copyright the shape of his business cards it would cost me a bloody fortune every time the kids wanted a 2"x3" rectangle cut.

When does something become non-unique enough that we no longer need to worry about copyrights?  I have my own bag patterns that I have created, and I'm really very fond of them, but is it really necessary?  If I invent a new wheel and even if the wheel is similar enough to the old wheel but new enough to garner interest, have I broken an agreement I may or may not be aware of with Mr. Wheel?  When is my interpretation of the wheel different enough for me to sell my own?  What expectations should we have for a genius idea like the wheel?  Shouldn't I be happy everybody else wants to make their own?  My kids are pretty good looking.  Should I investigate protecting their image now?  If they run for public office someday, I could make a mint off every campaign button.  Maybe that's the problem, the desire for money outweighs common sense.

Why isn't it more of  a simple black and white issue?  I need a lawyer.  Especially if Martha sues me for linking to her website.  Please don't sue me Martha.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just stuff it....

I'm a purger.  Even though my office desk is a bit messy, I generally don't like to keep things.  Once it's been used to its fullest potential, I donate, recycle or throw it out.

Even though I'm a purger, I still like to do things in a conservative or ecosmart way.  When I started my side business I realized just how expensive it is to start anything up.  In order to sell things you need to have things to sell.  That seems simple enough.  So, I had to buy supplies.  The more I got to know the industry, the better I was able to understand the demand and what people are looking for.  In handbags, people are usually looking for something extraordinary and that means, for me, using a lot of designer fabrics.

Designer fabrics are expensive.  They are typically about $5 more per yard than fabric you would pick up at a local craft/fabric store.  These fabrics are not carried at local fabric stores like JoAnn or Hancock Fabrics, you have to either order them online or go to a specialty quilt shop.  The first time I used one of these designer fabrics, I was very careful.  When I finished making whatever I was making I had scraps left over.  I felt a pang that a purger rarely feels.

I couldn't just throw the little scraps away but what would I ever use them for?  The same thing with thread.  I go through a lot of it and a lot ends up getting cut off the end of a seam.  At first I had to just resolve to throw it away and then I came up with an alternative, stuff it.

Now, when I sew, I keep a small bin next to my sewing machine and throw scraps into it.  I can always dig through it and grab a scrap for a covered button etc. but if it doesn't get used in a timely manner, I take the scraps and put it in the middle of things I make for the kids.  My example here is a little globe.  I made one for both of the kids and while the outer, cushy stuff is fiberfill, the core of the globe is made up of scraps I used.  

It's my way of saving some money and reducing what I put into the garbage.  Yeah, I used the globe as an example because I'm a bit amused that the directions called for the hole for the stuffing to be located in Antarctica.  Just in case that one flew by you, think ozone.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Eco-Smart Ideas

As you are aware, I love to post my eco-smart ideas and findings in my blog.

I saw the best one yet today at a Thai food place. A woman walking out of the restaurant carried out a large, quart sized yogurt container. I couldn't help but wonder, why on earth did she have a yogurt container in her hand? It took me a minute and then it dawned on me, the eco-smart solution for styrofoam carry out containers is to bring your own re-usable container.

Why didn't I think of that?? If you're going out to eat you already know the portions are going to be too large (unless you go to one of those places with cloth tablecloths) so why not bring your own carry out/to-go container?

Just another "duh Nik" moment.

A Weighty Subject

So, I have been trying to lose the weight I gained from the last baby, who is almost 15 months old.  When I hit the 12 month mark I realized I needed help because it just was not happening.  I enlisted the support of a health coach.  The health coach help me set the initial goals, one of which was food logging.  This is, essentially, how I lost the weight from the first baby.  Food logging is a great tool and to be more successful my coach advised me to carry a food journal with me in my purse.

Then, I discovered a number of other useful things for the food log.

While at lunch by myself, I doodled ideas for a new logo for my gear, in my food log.
I then saved my fortune cookie fortune and later taped it into my food log.
I jotted down some things I needed to remember for work, in my food log.
I clipped out some magazine pictures with gift ideas for the kids and put them in my food log.
Writing down blog ideas took up another page, in my food log.
Price comparisons are really going to help me shop and I'll keep them in my food log!
Pictures of inspirations travel destinations will help inspire me, in my food log.
Funny things the kids say have been written in my food log.
Interesting findings about my car's fuel consumption are a good entry for my food log.

As you can see, this food log has been enormously helpful keeping me organized.  If I had different logs for each item, say one for gift ideas, one for car mileage, one for reminders and one for fortune cookies, my bag would be full of little notebooks.  Instead, one log is fantastic for all of my needs in one place.  I'm even going to start tracking my goofy expenditures that I don't need to make like mocha purchases.

I noticed I haven't logged any of my nutrition notes in my food log yet.  My coach isn't going to like this.  But honestly, why lie?  I'm not losing weight not because of my food log failings but because I like cookies.