>Working With Models

>During Mabel’s nap today West,  John and I headed into my new and improved workspace to take some photos of my new shirt colors. My new workroom has a 6 ft x 6ft window and will prove to be an awesome space for both work and photography. We are still waiting for some molding to be installed but by the end of this week I will be fully up and running– and SUPER busy!

John was my model and I must add uber handsome! Check out some outtakes. Most of the images are of blank shirts because I plan on adding my images on digitally because most of my shirts are print to order and I have limited stock/sizes in my adult shirts.

My handsome men!
West running around the empty room yelling “echo, echo”
“I am not looking at the camera”

not quite ready for me to take photo      
My favorite new shirt color

>Often when everyone is in bed, I look up my google analytics site and see where the traffic comes from for my Etsy site. Last year I did a top 10 countries that people search my Etsy store from… thought I’d do a 2011 edition.
1. United States
2. Canada
3. Australia (also who I sell the most to beside people in the US)
4. UK
5. Japan
6. Germany
7. Spain
8. Italy
9. France
10. Netherlands

I realize that this is only really interesting to me. I haven’t been updating my blog as much as I’d like to. I haven’t really had much to say. My shop was on vacation except for a few already printed shirts and some valentines cards. Mostly I have been recovering from surgery and dealing with sick kids.

Now it’s March, almost spring and I am gearing up to get my shop running in full swing again. I will have new products, more styles and shirt options.

>Valentine’s Day Love

>So I am trying out a new market place to sell my wares. http://meylah.com/westmama
It is a beautiful site and has very cool feel. I’m sure how it will compare to etsy, but it hopefully I can grow it and do a little less on Etsy.

Here are the new cards I am selling for Valentine’s Day… I also have new folded note cards that are stunning, but my camera battery died and we can’t find our charger (isn’t moving great).

>Advent Adventures

>So this Christmas my son will be 3 years old. I had intended to start family traditions that included learning about the other holidays this time of year, cookie baking, giving to others, and the lore behind Christmas, Santa Claus and Christmas Trees. However we will be in the middle of a big move and we still don’t know when we will actually be in our new house. Anywhere from Dec 15th to Dec 21st… which doesn’t give us a lot of time to get settled into this holiday (or life in general).

In half hearted effort to build excitement I had planned on buying a simple card board Advent Calendar filled with chocolate, like this one:

Then after talking to some of my mama friends, I learned the more advanced world of Advent Calendars and all the options you can include in them (toys, stories, activities, etc). After scouring various online retail stores, I realized what I had in my mind didn’t exist and would need to be made. However what I had in mind involved a LARGE felt 3D tree similar to this one but 2-3 ft high, with 25 buttons on it so we could hang ornaments for each day of the month. I planned on wrapping each ornament with a small piece of paper with a one or two line sentence about the holiday season. Considering I have zero time/supplies/work space to put this together I decided to do something a bit simpler this year.
Here is what I made:
Here’s how I did it:
I bought a large cork board, 1 yard of winter/holiday fabric (like from Daffodilhill), 25 3in x 2in jewelry boxes, holiday paper, glue, thumb tacks, staple gun, number stickers* and Sharpie paint pens.
I attached the fabric to the cork board using a staple gun, I cut the paper down to size and attached using glue to the box lids, *at first I was using stickers to put the numbers on the box lids, but I ran out of stickers and they were pricey*, so I used some Sharpie paint pens to write the remaining numbers on the box lids. I then used thumb tacks in the base of the boxes to attach the boxes to the cork board, then placed the lids back on.  
My son is really into sea animals and dinosaurs so I am placing small toys in the box along with small pieces of paper with short christmas/holiday stories on them, that we will read when we open the box. Because I also have a 1 year old, the toys needed to be large enough to not be a choking hazard. 
Next year will be my year of the beautiful felt advent tree calender.  I promise.

>Where has Westmama been?

>Well a lot has been going on since my last post.

  • I turned 35
  • I suffered a uterine prolapse 
  • we put our house on the market
  • Mabel started walking
  • we traveled to Missouri
  • Mabel turned 1
  • we managed endless house showing and searched for a new house
  • all 4 of us got colds (some of us got two back to back colds)
  • we got an offer on our house (still in the inspection period)
  • we put an offer on a house (inspection tomorrow)
  • I scheduled my pelvic organ repair surgery included an abdominal hysterectomy. 
  • we are planning West’s third birthday party
  • And I’ve still plugging with my Etsy shop— only 5 sales away from 200 sales!! 

Here is a cute picture of Mabel and West and similar ages wearing the same outfits.

>Flash Back circa 2008

>One of my favorite past times while the kids nap is looking at baby photos of them (though technically Mabel is still a baby). Here is one of West on August 24th, 2008. He was playing with he baby… learning great big brother skills.

>Ink and Shirts

>It was a fun day today. I got some of the shirt samples I had ordered for my winter line. And by “winter line” I simply mean I am ordering some long-sleeve shirts from a new company and I can’t decide what colors to get.  I was excited enough when those came today, but then I also got my new Permaset Aqua Screen printing Ink. I have heard a lot of good things about this ink on various forums and I couldn’t wait to do a test run with it.

I grabbed one of the new sample shirts, a Mabel sized one in Steel Blue, picked one of my favorite designs and got to work. My first impression of the shirt and ink are very positive. The shirt is 100% thick cotton and super soft. The ink is thinner than my current brand and goes on a lot smoother. After a letting the shirt air dry I was immediately impressed that the screen design was soft to the touch. Because I’m also looking for a faster way to cure the ink on the shirts I am also experimenting using my clothing dryer to cure the ink. My first attempt at using the dryer to cure the ink didn’t quite work out well, a lot of the ink washed out. 😦 But I knew it was a possibility. (the pic below is prewashing)

Attempt number two at my test run was way more successful. This time I just air dried then used my iron for two minutes. I had a size run of some baby blue t-shirts in….since I have show this weekend I figured I could always use more giraffe shirts. And what I don’t sell at the craft show I will list on Etsy. I just LOVE the ink. I can’t wait to use my old ink up and buy all the colors I want in this Permaset.

Now the shameless Permaset Aqua ink plug– buy it if you want awesome ink. Great for hobbiest too! (you freezer paper stencil-ers I’m talking to you!). The best prices I found were here http://www.buypermasetinks.com

p.s. it doesn’t have a gunky smell and is non-toxic so you can use it around your little ones.